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« 1 







d Mimhtr pf tk* MitcMl Railromd RtUdtrt. 





aceordlDg to Aet of Oongren, in the year 1880, bf 
tilNofllri) of the librarian of Congreai at WasUngton, O^Cl 

* • 


FTER the following chapters of this book were in "^^f 
and I thought my work completed, I received notice from 
the printers that two pages of space had been left for an 
author's preface, and a request that I should forward the same 
without delay. 

. As book-making is regulated by established customs, I suj)- 
pose, that in order to please the printers and conform to these 
old established usages, I ought to fill these two pages with an 
apology for writing a book, or, rather, for my imfitness for 
such work, I have, in this connection, only this consoling 
thought to offer the reader— that had I been a better book- 
maker, I might have been less a l^Iitchell raider. 

Originally, the following chapters of this book were intended 
solely for publication in the local newspaper of my own 
county. My friends and old army comrades, affer reading 
them, as they appeared from week to week, said they were 
interesting and advised me to publish them in book form, and 
here it is. If it does not meet fhe requirements of the critics, 
let them bear in mind that it is simply the story of a private 
soldier, told in plain words, by one who aspires to no literary 
honors, who claims no credit for martyrdom, whose deeds did 
not change the tide of a single battle, nor to any act of soldierly 
gallantry. None of these are mine. I may say, too. incident* 
ally, that stealing and wrecking a railroad, even in case ot 


those who succeed, is not considered an unusual occurrence, 
not even in times of peace, and does not usually furnish mate- 
rial for a book ; but in this case there are a few circimastances, 
incidents and accidents not connected with common occurrences 
of the kind. I am not, however, aware, to this day, what 
effect our efforts had, if any, on the stock of the Georgia 
Central Railroads yet, had we succ^eeded, I do not think it 
would havQ been beneficial to the owners at that time. I need 
not, perhaps, say to the reader, that I never have had any 
further desire to engage in railroad enterprises, and all the 
credit I claim for myself, in this expedition, is that I believe 
I cheated the rebels out of the pleasure of hanging me, and 
did all in my power to carry out the orders of my General, 
and tried to serve my country faithfully. 

X can not conscientiously close without first acknowledging 
valuable assistance from 0. W, Evers, of the Wood County 
Sentinel, Bowling Green, Ohio, and to F. J. Oblinger, of the 
Toledo Bee; also to my comrade raiders, Robert Parrot, of 
Kenton, Ohio, William J. Knight, of North Pacific Junction, 
Minnesota, and also to comrade William Pittenger's Book, 
^Daring and Suffering,'^ for several points that had escaped 
my memory, 


BJiBKXNS, Obio, Apnl 26^ 1880. 



First Meeting of the Raiders near Shelbyrille— Thdr l^toies-v] 
Putting on Citizens' Clothes — Andrews, the Federal Spy-^l 
Final Instructions and Farewell by General Mitchell — Oft 
to Dixie — Heavy Rains and Freshets in the Rivers — **Meet^ 
ing Up" with a True Union Man — An Old Rebel Colonel-^' 
A Confederate Spy — Crossing the Cumberland Mountamft-^f 
Safe Arrival at Chattanooga— One Day Behind Time— Oflt/ 
to Marietta by Rail ^-»« 15 


Safe Arrival at Marietta — On Board the Morning Express -•j 
Porter and Hawkins Get Left — Capturing the Train at B^ 
Shanty— A Bewildered Multitude of Rebels— We Pull Out! 
Lively — Cutting Telegraph Wires — Tearing up Railroad Tradc^i 
— The Powder Train Story — Hindered by Down TraBCDS FIee*j 
ing from General Mitchell — Pursued by a Locomotive — Ai 
Railroad Race for Life or Death — Vain Efforts to Impede j 
Pursuit — Trying to Bum a Bridge — Throwing Oft Ties oaj 
the Track — A Reckless and Devil-may-care Race — ..^ 26 


Run Down at Last — We* Jump the Train and Fly to the Wooda 
under Musketry Fire — How the Chase was Made — TheX)fast^ 
cles We Had to Encounter — Sensational Rebel Aocount oi the 
WlmLe Affair— The Confederacy Badly " Shook Up,"— ^ 89 


"Nip and Tuck" — A Grand Old "Yankee" Man-Hxmt— atiaenflt' 
Soldiers and Dogs Join the Chase — Mark Wood and ISqoafc 
in a Little Brush Pile— "Hckliah'' Sitaatiozi for Thirty-Six 
Hours— Esc£^ to the Mountains — Dieco^ered by 'V^omenii) 
a Fodder-Pile — We Tell a Plausible ^tory^AnoQaer Lynx^ 


Eyed Woman — "Tou Are Union Men; You Can't Fool 
Me." 53 


Captured by Old Snow's Cavalry— A Deceptive Story tliat 
Wins— A TeiTible Risk— A Red-Hot Rebel Lecture— Again 
in the Mountains — A Loyal Woman in the Case, and Her 
No Less. Loyal Husband — "I Knew You Were Union Men 
all the Time" — Night March with a Guide — Stealing a Boat 
— Safe Arrival on the Tennessee River — Night of Terror on 
the Tennessee 65 



Running by Chattanooga — A Dangerous Voyage — Taking On 
a Pilot — A Terrific Ride — Hailed by Rebel Cavalry — Recon- 
noitering a Rebel Camp at Bridgeport — A Rebel Stampede — 
Arrivabat Stevenson — Fatal Mistake — Captured within Seven 
Miles of Mitchell's Lines — Sent to Bridgeport under Guard. 82 


Strongly Guarded — General Leadbetter at Bridgeport— Red-Hot 
Interview with the Scoundrel — A Blustering Braggart and an 
Arrant Coward — Taken Back to Chattanooga — ** The Hole " — 
Old Swims, the Jailer — A Horrible, Loathsome Pit 91 


Horror upon Horrors — Loathsome Corn-bread and Rotten Meat — 
Odors Most Foul — Fetters, Vermin and Darkness — Parallel with 
the Black Hole of Calcutta — The Boom of Mitchell's Cannon— 
A Night of Anxiety— Sad Disappointment — Off to Atlantar— A 
Bloodthirsty Mob Clamoring for our Lives — Landed in Better 
Quarters at Madison— Visited by a Union Spy — ^The Spy's Nar- 
row Escape— Back to our Chattanooga Prison — ^The Heroic Lad, 
Jacob Parrott, Brutally Whipped on the Naked Back 100 


tianning to Escape —Night Fixed upon for the Attempt— Twelve 
of the Train-Thieves Sent to Bjioxville for Trial — Andrews' 
Death- Warrant— Preparations to Break Jail — Andrews, the 
Spy, and John WoUam Escape — The Guards Aroused — ^Andrews' 
Wanderings and Terrible Sufferings— Throe Days Almost Naked 


—Recaptured— Brought Back to Prison More Dead than 
AUve 11« 


Our Brave and Noble Leader — His Impending Doom — All 
Taken to Atlanta Again — Last Advice and Counsel from 
Andrews— Dying the Death of a Spy— The Terrible Tragedy 
Consummated — Wollam Recaptured — Account of his Adven- 
tures — Mark Wood's Sickness — Pinchings of Hunger — ^Arrival 
of our Comrades from Knoxville— The Old Villain, Thbr— Pre- 
paring Seven of our Comrades for the Gallows .....129 


Painful Reflections — Brave Bearing of the Doomed Seven— 
"Tell Them I Died for My Countiy " — Poor John Scott — 
Wilson's Dying Speech — Brutal Scene — ^Rope Breaks with Two 
— Seven Murdered Heroes — Southern Barbarity — ^An Afternoon 
Never to be Forgotten — Solemn Hours in Prison — ^A Night of 
Prayer — Captain David Fry — A Christian Hero — A Rebel Minis- 
ter — Letter Sent to Jeff Davis and its Probable Result,., ..143 


The Jail -at Atlanta — Preparations to Break Jail — Etp&cting 
an Order for Our Execution — Busy Preparationfi for Escape — 
Prayer for Deliverance — ^The Last Desperate Chance — ^The Criti- 
cal Moment — Fighting the Guards — Away We Ck> — The Pur- 
suit 154 


Eluding Pursuit — Crossing the Line of Rebel Quardfl — Disooui^ 
aging Journey before Us — Paroxysm of Joy — Striking Out for 
the 'Gulf "^ We Reach the Chattahooche, and Hope Spring XJp 
Anew — We Find a Boat and are Soon Gliding Down the River 
Gulfwai-d 16d 


The Pangs of Hunger — Visions of Feasting — We Must Have 
Food — Visit a Rebel Planter's House — Gtet a Ghx)d Meal-r- 
Mark Gets to "the End of the River"— A Mysterious Noise^ 
Reckless Run Over a MiU-Dam — Mark Falls in the River — A 
^oil^ome Land Journey of Three Days and Nightii— Ftasiiig 



Ckdumbufl— The Rebel Ram Chattahooche^Capture Another 
Boat — Soon Exchange It for a Better One — ^Pursued by Its 
Owners — Feeding on Com and Pumpkin Seeds — Mosquitoes, 
Bnakes and Alligators 177 


Go After a Meal — Our Boat is Stcden — Feelings of Despair — 
Kight of ^(Hoom — Dangerous Method of Securing A^At^^^ Boat 
—Complete Success— Feast on Raw Cat-fish — ^Nearing the Gulf 
— ^Appalachicola— A Royal Feast on .Cooked Vhh and Roasted 
Sweet Potatoes — Gh>ing Down the Bay — Looking for the Block- 
ading Fleet—The Federal Fleet in tiie Distance — TlirilliDg, 
Rapturous Si£^t— The Old Flag Once More 192 


by the Commander of tiie Blockading Fleet — A Gruff 
Reception — Ezi^anatioQ of Our Appearance — ^^Clunged I>e- 
meancr of the Commander — Our Cadaverous Condition — 
Rageof the Old Sea Veteran, Commander J. F. Crossman — 
A,Kin4 and Noble Man— The Substantial Welcome Given Us 
—We Start for Key WiBst — Yellow Jack Catches Me — Key 
We^ — The "Conchs"— A Ifarked Contrast 203 


PxHTt Royal-T^ Death of General O. M. Mitchell— Memories of 
the Piist — Characteristics of Successful GeneralsMp — Qenersd 
Mitchell's Confidence in the Success of the Enterprise— Steam- 
ii^ to New Yort: with iiie Body^ of General Mit6heU—0ur 
Cordial Reception— Arrival at Washington — Caught without 
a Pass and Imprisoned— A Ifote iq the President— Immediate 

. Hrfrtiae. Tntroduoed to President Lincoln— An Znteacestiag Inter* 
ytew -.-r ..........l! 212 


Bfttoming to the Regiment— Back to the Army of the Oum- 
berland^The Greeting of Old Comrades ^MeetiBg with 

. Captajn Fry — History ci Different Membezs of Oiir Party— 
Interesting Account from Wm. J. Knight— J. R. Porter's 
Account— Whereabouts of other Comrades of the Expedition 
—A Few Words Personal— Medal and Extra Pfty— Concluding 
Words— A Hope that the Spirit of Rebellion is at an Bud. .iW 




■ •^.• 

" • 


^N the quiet litUe TiUage of Haskins, Woo6^ County, Ohio^ 
^ lives the- subject of these adTentures— a modest, quiet, 
impreteiotious gentleman, a good citizen, in whose outward 
appearance and actions there is nothing to. indicate -to the 
casual observer that he was one of a band of men of more 
than SfMurtan valor, who, in the midst of one of the darkest 
periods of the nation's annals, participated in one of the most 
thrilling incidents of a gigantic war — a war whose history is 
one of Titanic death-struggles, where thousands of brave men, 
with the most improved contriTances and implements of war- 
fare of modern, times, strove for the mastery — a wai^ maiked 
from banning, to end with . startling dramatic acts of adven- 
ture and heroism, unsurpassed in ttie annals of the, .world. Ilie 
aincient chrcmiclers of' Greece and Rcmie tell us of prodigxoua 
feats of valor in arms, while the historian of modem i&mm 
excites our admiration with the military genius of Ni^^leon 
and the bravery and devotion of his marshals and soldiers. The 
legends of Scotland teem with the stories of patriotism, devo- 
tion, and- self-sacrifice of that brave people ; but it i»cao xfis- 
paragement to say of all these that in acts of patriotism, 
devotion, daring, endurance, and' all the qualities which go to 
ma^e the soldier, history gives no account of men superior to 
those dei^elcpad by Ite war of the American Rebeliiou. Lord 
Nelson, the hero of Trafalgar, and the idol of the British 



• f 


nation, was not braver than Farragut, lashed to the mast of hia 
ship in Mobile Bay, and Cambronne and the Imperial Guard 
at Waterloo were not braver than Pickett, who led the dread- 
ful charge at Gettysburg, and the men who followed him. 

When the actors in the bloody drama of the RebeUion shall 
all have passed away, and personal jealousies and sectional 
animosities have died out, then will history make an impartial 
award of merits to the actors in that great struggle. Much 
that -^as real and dreadful will then read like fiction and 
romance, as if it had occurred in the days of miracles aud 
wonders. The timely arrival of the little Monitor at Hampton 
Boads, and her combat and miraculous victory over the mon- 
flter ^on-clad Merrimac, or the providential raSn-fall which 
delayed one day Albert Sidney Johnston's attack on Grant at 
Shiloh, thereby saving the Union army, are events so familiar 
16 this generation tiiiat they seem commonplace; yet they are 
•ventS} small as they may seem, on which, perhaps, hung the 
ftkte of the Republic. The whole war, from its beginning to 
its close, ending in the tragic death of the Chief Executive of 
the nation, was a succession of startling events, deeds of valor, 
great battles, hard marches, victories, defeats, and adventure 
by land and sea, which put to the sorest test the powers of 
•nduranoe and bravery of the combatants. 

The m^le of the hero of the following pages, although not 
lasted 09 the battle-field amid the rattle of musketry, the boom 
of cannon, the shriek of shot and shell, and the soul-inspiring 
rtraias of martial music, was tried in a crucible where cool* 
SMS, courage, fortitude, endurance, valor, nerve that amounted 
almoiit to sublimity, were called into requisition, and .where all 
the ennobling traits of man's highest nature were brou^t into 
]^j. Thia tiying ordeal will be fully developed in the pagea 
Ibat f oUow. 

ffHaa, JL Wilson waa bpm July 25> 1882, near the town al^ 


Worthingtou, Franklin County, Ohio. When a boy aboafet 
seventeen years of age, he removed with his father, Ezekiel* 
Wilson, to Wood County, the family locating not far from 
Haskins, where the lad Wilson grew to manhood. 

With the exception of a year's residence in Iowa, ^^md his 
term of army service, Mr. Wilson, or **Alf.," as all his 
acquaintances call him, has since been a resident of Wood 
County. In stature he is medium, weighing, perhaps,, one 
hundred and fifty pounds, of rather slender, but wiry, build^ 
of nervous temperament, light hair, and bluish grey eyes. In 
his manner he is deliberate, though quick of decision and 
action, and there is that in his appearance that denotes to the 
close observer of human character a fearless determination and 
tenacity of purpose that can not be swerved without sufficient 
reason. He is a man somewhat after the old John Brown 
make-up in tenacity of resolution, belief and purpose. Though 
broken in health, having endured and suffered enough to break 
the strongest constitution, he is yet active in mind and body, 
being one of those persons who will never cease to be active 
until overtaken by the last enemy of mankind. On the sub- 
ject of his many startling adventures, his perilous hardships, 
and hairbreadth escapes, he is usually reticent. When he is 
induced to speak of them, the dark hours of his imprisonment 
seem to harrow up his feelings to their utmost tension. His 
eyes dance with an unnatural light, he grows excitedly nervous 
over the recollections of that terrible summer, and his every 
action indicates that of a tempest-tossed spirit over tne bitter 
memories of the past. Under no other circumstances is this 
state of mental incandescence perceivable with Mr. Wil^n. It 
is a matter of no sm'prise, then, that a man of his temper?t- 
ment should so seldom allude to the bitter agonies and har- 
rowing circumstances of that memorable year. 

At the beginning of the Rebellion, in 1861, Mr. Wilson 


enlisted in C Company, Twenty-First Ohio Volunteer Inraiitiy, 
and the ever-shifting events of the war found the reginoient, of 
^hidxf Colonel J. S. Norton, now of Toledo, was commander, 
stationed near Shelbyville, Tennessee, and in the army division 
commanded by that enterprising and far-seeing officer, Greneral 
O. M, Mitchell, who was then directing his column to Chatta- 
nooga. This was in April, 1863, and it is at this point that 
the adventures of Mr. Wilson properly begin. In Order, how- 
ever^ to ^et a better understanding of the importance of the 
perilous enterprise about to be related, and its direct bearing 
on the gigantic niilitary operations then transpiring, it will be 
W^ to briefly recapitulate a little of the history of that period. 
General Medellan, at that time, was advancing on Rich- 
mond in the east. In the west, General Grant had just gained 
a great victory at Fort Donelson. This defeat of the Confed- 
erates caused tbem to virtually abandon Kentucky and West- 
eam. and Middle Tennessee. The Federal forces promptly fol- 
lowed up their advantage and advanced their army up the 
Tennessee River, by gunboats and transports, as far as Pitts- 
buiig Landing. To meet this powerful array of the Federal 
armies, the Confed^^»te Generals, Johnson and Beauregard, 
were making supeiiiuman efforts to concentrate a Confederate 
force at Corinth, powerful enough to meet and crush Grant's 
army before it advanced further southward. Troops and sup- 
piles were being hurried forward from all directions; but 
from no place was the supply so strong and steady as from 
the State of Georgia, the granary of the South. This stroesa 
of constaat supply and fresh levies came from Georgia by the 
Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Corinth, where the Rebel 
army lay, is situated on this Railroad, and so is CHattanooga, 
though the two places are a long distance apart. From Chat- 
tanqpga south to Atlanta, the heart of Georgia, the trafi&c was 
oyer the Georgia State Railroad* Over this Ral)road| Georgia^ 


I. . 

I M T R 6*D TJ C T 1 6 N ^ xiil 

and other portions of the Oulf territory not only sent 8upplie<3 
to the Confederate forces preparing for battle at Corinth, but 
over the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, by way of 
Chattanooga, to Richmond and to Cumberland Gap, then 
threatened by General G^eorge W. Morgan, with a Federal 
division. From this it will be seen that the Georgia Stale 
Road, from Atlanta and the South, intersecting, as it did at 
Chattanooga, roads running to Virginia and to the west, dis- 
tributing supplies and troops on shortest notice at points whore 
most needed, was a most important and essential factor to tlio 
socoess of the Confederates, in resisting the great armies which 
menaced them in Virginia and the Gulf States, 

The Federal (Generals foresaw the importance of destroying, 
even temporarily, this great artery of /supply to the Confed^r- 
- ates. But to attempt it with a large force would be extremely 
hazardous, as it would necessarily place such force hundreds 
of miles from its base of supplies, and with its line of com* 
munication in the control of the Confederates. 

Some time in March, a noted Union spy, or secret service 
agent, named J. J. Andrews, a Kentuckian by birth, and who 
had repeatedly visited all portions of the South and was thor- 
oughly familiar with the railroad in question, discussed with 
General Mitchell the possibihty of accomplishmg th^j work 
with a secret expedition. General Mitchell soon became inters 
ested in the bold proposition, and, after due consideration, fell 
in with the plan. Eight men volimtarily started out on the 
perilous enterprise, but after an absence of some days, they all 
returned without attempting the hazardous undertaking. But 
Ani£rews was loth to give up his daring project, and subse- 
quently had a consultation with General Mitchell, iu which he 
claimed that the project was still feasible. General Mitchell, 
with some misgivings, continued to favor it, because the 
flchemey if successful, would cripple the Confederates and send 



teiror and dismay through the whole Confederacy ; and it was 
one of those problematical, far-reaching undertakings, in which 
this restless officer seemed to delight. But he did not like the 
possible consequences which might fall on the heads of the 
men who would have to go with Andrews on the dangerous 
expedition, inr case of failure. He knew if they were captured 
they would be executed. Howeyer, the General gave Andrews 
permission to m^e the attempt, provided he could find twenty 
men among the regiments of the division who would volim- 
tarily go with him. This, strange as it may seem, was not 
attended with any great trouble, hazardous as was to be the 
service. The army abounded in cool-headed, daring spirits, 
and in a short time the list of volunteers was made up, to the 
Aimber of twenty-four, including Andrews, the leader. 

Such was the origin of one of the most daring exploits con- 
ceived during the War of the Rebellion — one which for bold- 
ness of design, intrepidity, daring and recklessness, has but 
few parallels in the history of ancient or modem warfare. 

Hon. Judge Holt, in his official report as Secretary of War, 
used these words: "The expedition, in the daring of its con- 
ceptiAi, had the wildness of a romance ; while in the gigantic 
and overwhelming results it sought and was likely to accom- 
plish, it was absolutely sublime." 

And with this introduction to the details of this thrilling 
expedition, necessary to a proper understanding of the events 
about to be related, Mr. Wilson will take up the narrative, 
which has all the sensation of a thrilling romance, and yet in 
which there is not a line that is not true to the letter. 

* C. W.E. 




First Meeting of the Raiders near Shelby ville— Their Names «-» 
Putting on Citizens' Clothes— Andrews, the Federal Spy^ 
Final Instructions and Farewell by General Mitchell — Wo 
Break into Squads and are Off to Dixie— Wayside Reflec- 
tions — Heavy Rains and Freshets in the Rivers — ** Meeting 
Up" with a True Union Man — Our Story of Deception— An 
Oldr Rebel Colonel — A Confederate Spy— Crossing the Cum- 
berland Mountains— Safe Arrival at Chattanooga — One Day 
Behind Time— Off to M^ietta by Rail. 

**With years, ye know, have not declined 
My strength, my courage, or my mind. 
Or at this honr I shonld not be 
Tellhig stories beneath a tree.** 

;T was a pleasant day in April in the year 1862, the 
very day on which the bloody battle of Shiloh was 
fought and won (the 7th), that a party of twenty- 
four men assembled near the old town of Shelbyvilie, 
Tennessee, and placed themselves under the leadership 
of one of their number, J. J. Andrews, a dating aod 
successful Federal spy and secret service agent. 

These men, with two exceptions, were enlisted 
soldiers, and belonged to the division of General Ormsbjf 
IL Mitxshelli then encamped about Shelby villa. 





Their enrollment was as follows : 

J. J. Andrews and William Campbell, citizens of 
Kentucky ; 

MAwoir A. Eoss and PERRr G. Shadrack, Company 
A, Second Regiment O. V. I.; 

Oeobok D. Wilson, Company B, same regiment ; 

William Pittenger, Company G, same regiment ; 

J. E. I^ORTER, Mark Wood and J. A. Wilson, Coin 
pany C, TV\renty-First Regiment O. V. L; 

William Knioht, Company E, same regiment ; 

Wilson W. Brown, Company F, same regiment ; 

William Bensinger, Company G, same regiment ; 

BoBERT BuFFUM, Company H, same regiment ; 

John Sqott and £. H. Mason, Company K, same 
Wgiment ; 

M. J. iBCiwEiiNS, Company A, Thirty-Third Regiment 

William Reddick, Compftny B, same regiment ; 

John Wollam, Company C, same regiment ; 

Samuel IIobinson, Company G, same regiment ; 

D. A. DbRSET, Company H, same regiment ; 

Jacob PIrrott, Company K, same regiment ; 

Samuel Blayens, same regiment. 

Two others, whose names have escaped my memory, 
started with us from Shelby ville, t^ut they reached the 
Tennessee River so far behind the remainder of the 
party, as I afterwards learned, that they saw their 
services would be of no avails and the next best thing 
was to return to the Federal lines, if possible. This 
they failed to do, were conscripted into the rebel army, 
and after some time one of them escaped back to the 
Federal camp, which caused suspicion to fall upon his 


•omrade, who was arrested and afterwards placed in 
prison in Chattanooga. 

The object of oui- expedition as already foreshadowed, 
was to penetrate the rebel lines to the city of Marietta 
Georgia, there to secure a train of cars, by fair means 
or by force, and then to run northward toward our own 
lines, burning all the bridges and destroying the road 
in such a manner as to utterly and effectually break all 
rail communication by this most important railroad tc 
the South, To do this successfully it was necessary tc 
disguise ourselves in citizens' clothes. Accordingly, late 
in the afterno6n of April 7, we went into the town of 
Shelbyville and procured suits of clothes, after which 
we assembled at a point designated for our final start. 
We passed through our line of pickets without difficulty, 
as they had been previously instructed to allow us to 
pats. Soon after passing our pickets we were joined by 
General Mitchell, and after proceeding a short distance 
to a secluded spot, we were halted for final instructions. 
This business over, the good old General took us each 
by the hand and with tearful eyes bade us good-bye, 
vaying, as he did so, that he feared he should never see 
us again. 

Before proceeding further, I will briefly describe our 
!6ader, Andrews. lie was a noble specimen of man- 
hood, nearly six feet in height, of powerful build, long 
raven black hair, black silken beard, Iloiuan features, 
a high, expansive forehead, yet with a voice soft and 
gentle as that of a woman. He was a man who com- 
bined intelligence and refinement with cool, dauntless 
courage that quailed under no difficulty or danger. He 
was a man ddliberate in ^>eech and calm in mamier— ' 


a man well fitted for the dangerous service he was 
engaged in, though I doubt his entire fitness to com- 
mand men in sudden and unexpected emergencies. 
However, he shared his chances equally with us, and 
died the death of a brave man. No braver, truer man 
ever lived. 

fik Having been supplied by Andrews with Confederate 
money to pay our expenses, we separated into squads of 
four or five ^d directed our course to ward Chattanooga, 
distant one Hundred and three miles. We were soon 
dear of. all our picket and vidette posts and in the 
enemy's cwintry. Not until fairly away from sight of 
tiie old flag and our regiments and entirely within the 
enemy's Mne, could, we begin to realize the great respon- 
sibility W6 tad incurired. To tegin with, we had cast 
aside our uniform^ and p^t on citizens' clothes, and 
assumed all the penalties that in military usages the word 
SPY implies, which is death the world over. Again, our 
mission. was such that concealment ^yas impossible. We 
were sure to arouse the; whple Confederacy and invoke 
all the brutal vengeance of its frenzied leaders in. case 
we did not make good our escape after doing our work. 
The military spy, in the ordinary* line of his duty, is 
not compelled to expose himself to detection. On thp 
contrary, he conceals, in every possible way, his identity. 
Tills we could do until in the heart of the enemy's 
country, the very place where we would be in most 
danger and where the blow would fall most heavily on 
our enemies and arouse against us all their hatred and 
most active energies. 

All these things passed in review in our minds as we 
walked on. but did not cause us to slacken our pace or^ 

••■". ••.5' ■«•■.' "•^■'•r. •%':-■, ^. • h *-*:\- 

. • f.- ■ 


abate our will and determination to destroy the Georgia 
State Railroad or die in the attempt. There was, I may 
say right here, one thought about the business that I 
did not just like — that if caught I would die the death 
of a spy — be hung. I had enlisted as a soldier and of 
course knew that I took in the bargain some chances of 
being shot, which is not a dishonorable way of closing 
up a soldier's earthly account. I speak of this, that the 
reader may in some measure appreciate the perplexing 
anxiety of our situation at times, and also as an explana- 
tion of some things which subsequently occurred, and 
which may appear to have been done in wanton bravado, 
or with a reckless disregard of life. 

It commenced raining again the night of our depart- 
ure, as it had done the week previous, and continued 
with but very little cessation during our entire trip. 
This of itself increased the obstacles that delayed us. 

During our first day's march we met, for a wonder, a 
true Southern Union man — as loyal a man as ever I 
met. He was an old man, who had remained true, 
though surrounded by disloyal neighbors. Though we 
professed to be rebels on our way to enlist in the rebel 
army, he boldly spoke his sentiments and did his best to 
persuade us to return and cast our lot with the Union 
army. After much urging he piloted us to the river, 
which was so swollen by rain that we could not ford it 
M we expected. The whole face of the country was a 
vast sheet of water, and we waded for miles through 
mud and water. The old man procured us a skiff, and 
we then, with a hearty shake of his loyal hand, bade 
him farewell. 

By our ixuitruotions we were allowed just four days^ 



not only to reach Chattanooga, but to accomplish the 
work. The continued rains and bad roads made this 
accomplishment in the allotted time simply an impossi- 
bility. It delayed us one day longer than the tinxe 
agreed upon, and had much to do with the outcome of our 
undertaking, as will be hereafter seen. That old ada^ 
which says, " Delays are dangerous," was most faith- 
fully verified in our case. 

During our journey to Chattanooga, Andrews, who 
was mounted, would ride ahead and make all necessary 
inquiries and then, passing out of sight, would allow us 
to go by, when he would mount and overtake us in 
some safe place where he would give us instructions, 
and then ride on, as though we were entire strangers to 
him and he to us. He would frequently pass us, simply 
bidding us the time in a careless way, and perhaps in 
an indifferent manner would ask us which way we were 
traveling. Sometimes, when squads of rebels were 
atout, he would ask us where we were going. The 
reply would invariably be — . 

" To Chattanooga, sir." 

''Are you soldiers?" 

"No, sir, we are not soldiers, but we expect to be 
as soon as we can get to one of the Kentucky regi- 
ments. We are from Kentucky and are on the way to 
join the army, sir. We have become so disgusted with 
the cussed Yankees since they came into our State, that 
we can't stand it any longer, and we are determined to 
fight' them as long as there is a man left. They have 
ruined our State, sir. Yes, sir, they steal everything 
they can lay their hands on ; they have burned nearly 

every fence in the State^ sir. Are yoa acquainted iA 


Chattanooga, sir? Could you give us any inf ormati<ai 
about Colonel "Williams' regiftient ?" 

" No, men, I'm sorry to say I can't, now ; but Pol 
glad to 666 you come out to fight for your coontiy. 
The Lincolnites are determined to take all our slaVra 
from as, confiscate our homes, and cat our throats in 
the bargain. It is the duty of every Southern man to 
rally to arms and drive them from our country." 

During these conversations the rebel citizens wonid 
look on and by their actions and worda they seemed to 
think we were as good Confederates as ever lived. In 
this manner we were able to travel through their 
cotintry without exciting suspicion. 

On "Wednesday night, April 9, we arrived at the little 
Tillage of Manchester. Near this village some of the 
party stopped for the night at the house of an old rebel 
who bore the title of Colonel. It was our plan to avoid 
persons of his stamp, as we did not care to undergo too 
close scrutiny. But night overtook a part of the squad 
there and none who took sheltei* under the old Colonel's 
roof had cause to feel sorry. He was a good enter- 
tfuner, had plenty of the comforts of life about him 
and was an incessant talker, especially on the* subject 
uppermost in his mind — the war. He was at first a 
little cautious and sby, but on being assured that his 
fruests were Confederates of tho best stripe, he relaxed 
himself and assured them that he felt honored by t!:eir 
presence and that it was a privilege indeed to be able 
to serve such brave men — men who were patriotic 
enough to leave their homes in Old Kentucky and go 
volnnt&rily to the front in the great hoar oTtlanger. 
ft did not seem as though he could do enough for tha 


boys; nothing he had was too good. He proved his 
loyalty, the next morningf to the secession cause, and 
his good will to them by taking his team and wagon 
apd hauling them as far as the mountains, to a little 
place called Pelham. While in. his company we had 
no reason to fear suspicion. No better guarantee that 
we were all right was needed in that part of Tennessee. 
Before leaving the men he took them to a tavern and 
treated them to whisky, after which he bade them 
good speed and returned home. Whether he ever 
learned his mistake or not I do not know. 

For myself, I spent the same night . with an old 
farmer — a neighbor of the old Oolonel's — a mild and 
inoffensive-appearing old man. * I was very hungry and 
tired and felt great gratification on seating myself at 
bis table to see it so bountifully supplied with substan- 
tial eatables so tempting to a hungry man. I ate 
heartilv and said but few words. There was a rather 
genteel, smooth-looking man at the table whose pres- 
ence and appearance I. did not exactly understand* I 
cx)ukl not at first make out whether he belonged to the 
place or not, but soon discovered that he was a stranger. 
I kept a discreet tongue and learned bye and bye that 
the str«.riger, too, was on his way to Chattanooga. He 
iiiq::ir-^d particularly concerning the rolads and very 
:ninutelj in regard to the Yankees. The old man told 
hi in that lie had never seen a Yankee nor heard of. anv 
being i^earer than the coal banks at the mountains. 
The stranger seemed quite uneasy lest he should fall 
into Yankee hands and was evidently no lover of the 
horrible " Yanks." Next morning, in good season, we 
were ready to continue our journey and the stranger 

A C0NPEDEBAT£ spt. 23 

became one of oiir traveling coni[ianio;ig. JTo did not 
long coBtiQUc with us, however, as wo tooli a road that 
■was supposed to come in close proximity to tlic Federal 
lines. He now took me one side and proposed to give 
me forty dollars to pilot him over tlie mountains. lie 
told me he was a spy, acting in the employ of the 
Confederate Government. 

My mind was now thrown into a cloud of doubt and 
perplexity as to what was the proper thing to do. At 
times I had a mind to accept his offer and go as a guide 
with him until I had a chance to lose him or get sep- 
arated from him. He might, in case he had seen reason 
to suspect us, get to Chattanooga in advance of us and 
cause our arrest and Imprisonment. I was at no little 
loss what to do. At one time I had concluded to go 
with him until we could reach some secluded place and 
there treat him to the fate of a spj' and enemy of my 
country — a fate he deserved, as I knew he was carrying 
important news to the Confederates. But on the other 
band, if I did tbfe, it might detain rac so long that I 
would fail to be on time to discharge my part in the 
service for which I had been detailed. We finally let 
him go his road and we went ours. When we arrived 
in Chattanooga he was tiie lirst man wo met and he, 
supposing us to be friends, treated us with great cordi- 
ality and invited us to go with him and "have some- 
thing," but it was nearly train time and we had reasons 
fo~ politely declining, not caring to malcc his further 
acquaintance. This was the last we saw of the nice- 
appearing stranger and Confederate spy. 

We reached the north bank of the Tennessee Eiver, 
opposite Chattanooga, on Friday, the 11th, one day 


, ■ • - . - ■ . • 

behind the *ime agreed upon with General Mitchell, and 
were compiled to wait for some time for the wind to 
subside so that the ferry-boat — a little, crazy, frail affair 
—could carry us safely across. At length, however, we 
had the satisfaction of landing safe and sound in Chat- 
tanooga, where we found we had been preceded by 
ndost of the party. We went to the depot and pur- 
chased tickets to Marietta, Georgia. Some of the party 
purchased several tickets, so that there would not be so 
many of us at the office at once. Everything thus far 
appeared to work finely. We all secured our tickets, 
went aboard the train, and no one seemed to pay any 
attention to ua. This was a great relief to us. We took 
seats in the cars and Avere soon moving off into Dixie 
at a good rate of speed. I felt that this was a much 
easier and more expeditious way of getting on than the 
tedious, tiresome march of the previous four days. 

After getting seated, and there being no further cause 
of concerk for the time being, I began to carefully 
study over the situation with all the thought I could, and 
to calculate our chances of success or failure, and the 
result of my deliberations was by no means encourag- 
ing. We were one day behind the time appointed. I 
Icnew, too, or felt sure, that General Mitchell would not 
fail to march upon and take Huntsville, accoi'ding to 
the arrsCngements made with us when we started, I 
also felt certain that if he did so there would be little 
room to hope for our success. It would cause the road 
to be crowded with trains flying from danger, and it 
would be difficult for us to pass them all in safety. But 
it was too late now to change the programme. We 
must loake the effort, come what might I said nothn 




ing, however, to any one except Andrews ; but on lis- 
tening to my opinion on the situation he encouraged me 
by saying there was yet a good chance to succeed. 
Indeed, he expressed himself in so sanguine a manner 
that I made no further argument ; but I still thought 
my course of reasoning correct, whether the result 
would accord with it or not. 



} , 


Safe Arrival at Marietta — On Board the Morning Ezprew^ 
Porter and Hawkins get Left— Capturing the Train at Big 
Shanty — A Bewildered Multitude of Rebels— We PuU Out 
Lively— Cutting Telegraph Wires— Tearing up Railroad Track 
— The Powder Train Story— Almost a Row with the Train 
Men— A Zealous Station Agent, who was Willing to Send 
his Last Shirt to General Beauregard — Hindered by Down 
Trains Fleeing from General MitchfeU — Pursued by a Loco- 
motive — Tearing up More Track — A Railroad Race for Life 
or Death — Vain Efforts to Impede Pursuit — Trying to Bum 
a Bridge — Throwing off Ties on the Track — A Reckless and 
Devil-may-care Race, the Like of Which was Never Before 

*• Now, by St. Paul, the work goes bravely on/' 

E left Chattanooga a little while before sunset, and 
arrived at Marietta soon after midnight, a distance 
of one hundred and thirty miles. We at once 
repaired to the nearest hotel and registered, of course 
giving fictitious names. Before retiring, arrangements 
were made to have the hotel men awake us in time for 
the north-bound train in the morning, which they prom- - 
ised to do without ftiil. 

No man knows what a day may bring forth; ajid 
this very uncertainty of what the light of that day's 
sun would bring forth in our particular cases was the 
reason some of us, myself at least of the number, did 
not sleep very much. Our doom might be fixed beforo 

•• J7 rSi • ii - 

- I 

• *•: 

I • 

> ■ E '. ■■.".* 



tte setting of another sun. We might be hanging to 
th^ limbs of some of the trees along the railroad, with 
an enraged populace jeering and shouting epithets and 
vengeance because we had no more lives to give up ; 
or, we might leave a trail of fire and destruction behind 
us and come triumphantly rolling into Chattanooga and 
Hnntsville, within the Federal lines, to receive the wel- 
come plaudits of comrades left behind, and the thanks 
of our General and the praises of a grateful people. 
Snoh thoughts as these passed in swift review, and were 
not well calculated to make one sleep soundly. But 
even this broken rest was not to continue long. The 
two or three hours soon slipped by and we were called 
and iiotified to " hurry up or we would be left.'' Two 
of our men who lodged at another house, Porter and 
Hawkins, by some mistake, were not called, and were 
' left, 80 that only twenty of us took the train. Tlnis 
was a serious loss,' for Hawkins was the most expati- 
ended engineer of the party, and he was the one 
selected to take charge of the engine ; but it is not 
likely that the result of the expedition would have been 
different, even with his practice and experience. ^ 

The reader will, by glancing at a map of Georgia, 
notice that just to the north of Marietta, on the rail* 
road; are the towns of Kenesaw and Big [Shanty. 
Sherman's soldiers will all remember ^these two ph^ces. 
It'was the latter place, also called Camp McDonald, a 
place where rebel recruits in great numbers were 
faFDQght for organization and drill, that had been selected 
to strike the first blow, by capturing the train, or such 
pcnr^n at it as was wanted* Big Shanty is only eight 
or tea miles from Majrietta^ and there were two good 


reasons why wc selected that particular station. In the 
firet place, there was no telegraph office, there — an 
important point in our favor — and in the next place it 
Avas a lunch station, where passengers were allowed 
twenty minutes for refreshments. This was in our 
favor, for it might save us the necessity of killing the 
engineer and fireman, who would, in all probability, 
leave the engine to ^o to the refreshment room. Aside 
from considerations of humanity, it was our wish to 
avoid any collision or delay, for there were camped 
within sight of the station no less than ten thousand 

The train we had taken passage on was the express, 
heavily loaded with passengers and drawn by a fine 
looking locomotive. There was many an anxious gaze 
from one to another of our party after we had taken 
our seats in the cars that morning, as if to read the 
thoughts of each, as men will sometimes do when 
drawn up in line on the eve of a great battle when the 
skirmishers are slowly retreating before the advancing 
columns of the enemy. For my own ^rt I could not 
discover on a face in our party any sign of trepidation 
or timidity. Each seemed cool, decided and resolute. 
Few words were spoken and each seemed impatient 
for the decisive moment to arrive. "When the shrill 
whistle announced that we had arrived at the station 
and the conductor sang out " Big Shanty ! twenty min- 
utes for breakfast ! " and himself started for the restau- 
rant, followed by the engineer and fireman, we felt a 
happy relief. The passengers were swarming into the 
eating-house for brealcfast pell-naell. Now was our 
time to strike I — 


. Our party had, by this time, all drifted together 
along side the train on the platform, when Andrews, 
who had been ahead to see if the switches were 
all right and the track clear, came up and quietly 
said, " All right, boys." Every man sprang to his place. 
Andrews, who had been improving all his time, had 
uncoupled the train, leaving three box-cars hitched to 
the tender. Andrews, Brown, Knight and mysdf 
sprang on the engine. Knight grasped the lever of the 
Engine and gave it a surge and the ponderous wheels 
were instantly in motion. We were oflf. The rest of 
the men had leaped into one of the box-cars. The rebel 
guards who were on duty about the platform, did not 
at first seem to comprehend what was up, and, when it 
was, alas, too late, looked after us in blank amazement. 
We shot out lively for a short distance, perhaps nearly 
half a mile, as Knight, had thrown the valve wide open, 
when we discovered the engine had been left with but 
little steam or fire either. We were compelled to come 
to a dead stop, and the way we put in wood and poured 
on oil wasn't slow by any means. We could see 
the surprised, dumbfounded crowd — citizens, soldiers, 
officers and railroad men — gazing after us and running 
hither and thither in helpless confusion. Several squads 
of soldiers, with their guns, started for us on the dead 
run,.yeUing lilce wild Comanches. Our fire was burn- 
ing briskly by this time and we had no fear of them. 
We waited, however, until they came within thirty or 
forty rods and then pulled the lever and rolled out 
slowly for some distance, until we could gain a good 
head of steam. When they saw we had steain up, th@y 
oame to a halt and opened a lively musketry fire on wk 


They did us ho harm, and every revolution of the big 
wheels carried us farther bevond their reach. When 
we were safely out of their way, we halted again and 
John Scott, with the agility, intrepidity and daring for 
which he was noted, climbed a pole and cut the tele- 
graph wire, so that by no possibility would they be able 
to send a dispatch ahead of us. We then pulled out at 
a rapid rate for a time, until, coming to a curve in the 
road, we stopped again. 

Every man fully realized the danger of the terrible 
work of destruction that we had undertaken, and was 
fully nerved for the struggle. Here, too, we tore up 
the track behind us, and Scott again cut down the 
wires, as he continued to. do throughout that terrible 
race, and this time made them fast to the rear car of 
the train. The way we "yanked" down telegraph 
poles and tore the wire loose when we started up, was 
frightful to behold. At the next station we met and 
passed a train. They evidently regarded us with 
surprise or suspicion. The train men kncNV the loco- 
motive we were on, but the hands were all strangers to 
them. Besides, we were a wild train ahead of the 
express and unannounced. But we did not parley or 
answer, questions nor stop lentil we reached the tank, 
where we took on water and wood. Then we pulled 
out at rapid speed for a while when we again stopped 
and tore up the track and cut the wires to cut off pur- 
suit. We continued in this manner, destroying track 
and wire frequently, until we reached a little station 
called Marengo, where we had to stop for a south- 
bound train to pass. 

When we made the first stop, after captm'ing tli^ 




train and getting clear of Big Shanty, Andrews was 
overjoyed at our success, and when he jumped off the 
locomotive he olaspod each of us by the hand, congrat- 
ulating us that the worst part of the job was over, 
as we had but one more tram to pass when the " coast 
would all be clear. " This probably would all have 
been true had we been one dav sooner. 

While we were waiting at Marengo, Andrews went 
into the office and procured the switch keys and a 
schedule, telling the office-man that he was running an 
"extra" through with powder and ammunition to 
Beauregard, who was hard pressed by Grant and was 
out of ammunition, and the greatest possible khaste was 
necessary. This story, trumped up on the spur of the 
moment, had much semblance of truth, although we 
did not know it. 

Not a week had elapsed since the battle of Shiloh, 
and Generals Grant and Hallcck were at that very time 
pushing their columns on toward Beauregard at Corinth, 
and to give further ]|)lausibility to our story, there was 
in Ihe express car a prodigious iron-bound safe, contain- 
ing probably a wagon load of Confederate scrip, with 
which to pay off the Confederates at Corinth. This 
was satisfactory to the man, who said he would 
willingly take off his shirt and send it to Beauregard if 
it Avould do any good. "When Andrews returned to the 
train we were in a great turmoil. This was the station 
where the express train changed hands, and no sooner 
had we come to a halt than the relief came on to take 
possession. Finding a new and strange set of men and 
no passenger cars, they did not know what to make of 
it They knew the locomotive and asked us what w^ 


were doing on that engine ? We told them the same 
stopy that Andrews told ; but still they seemed to think 
something was not right. When Andrews, however, 
who was clothed in somewhat of a military dress, 
made his a|^earance and told them the same story in 
his serious and impressive way ; that he had charge of 
the train and that it was very important that there 
should be no delay, and also assured them that the 
express train would be along soon, they seemed a little 
more reconciled. In the meantime the down train had 
passed, and without further parley we pulled out and 
left them to settle the matter the best they could. 

We did not run far until we again stopped and tore 
up the track and cut the wires. This time we took the 
displaced rails with us for the purpose of making them 
all the trotible and delay we could, knowmg that in all 
probability pursuit would soon follow. Thus we pro- 
ceeded, tearing up the trkck, cutting the wir^ and 
wJiiting for trains topiass, frequently, however, doubling 
on schedule time between stations. What gave us niiost 
concern was the falct that every train that jpassed Us 
carried a red flag, indicating that other trains were fol- 
lowing. We knew the explanation of this. General 
Mitchell, prompt to fulfill his agreement with us, had 
pushed the Federal troops forward to the railroad 
at Huntsville, and the whole rebel populaiion were 
badly scared, while all the public property wm being 
nm into Georgia fOT safety. 

At length we xeached a station where we Were almost 
positive that we should pass the last train. Andrews 
went into the station where the k^ys wiere hai^g and 
took them to adjust the iwitoh wi^ont asking; My onflw 


T^s liberty on. his part was likely to raise some trouble 
with the station men, but the plausible powder story 
quieted them. After "waiting a short time the down 
train passed, but it carried the inevitable red flag. This 
was not encouraging to us. Our precious time was 
being fatally consumed with these delays. We felt and 
knew it. 

Finally, while we were engaged in tearing up the 
track, we were startled by the shrill whistle of a pur- 
suing locomotive, away in our rear, but unmistakably 
coming toward us. We were followed and there was 
not a doubt of it. The pursuing train, however, was 
delayed by meeting the train which had just passed us 
and this delay gave us quite a start again, which we 
iniproved to the best possible advantage. It must be 
remembei^ that from the nature of our position we 
had a poor chance of providing ourselves with bars^ 
saws, grappling-hopks, axes, sledges, powder, torpedoesi 
and other necessary implements for making quick work 
in the destruction of track and bridges. We had put 
our main reliance on destroying by fire. 

Bight here I may as well explain briefly, although a 
little out of the regular order, how the pursuit, which 
began at Big Shanty, was conducted. The engineer^ 
eonductpr and track-master followed on a hand-car 
until they met the first train we had passed. They 
boarded this train, reversed the engine and pu^ed on 
with ail possible haste. When they came to where we 
had displiaoed the track, they took up rails behind them 

with no great delay, for on reaching the first station 
tliey dropped off most of the carS| took on a quantity 


of rails and a gang of track-hands and then pushed, 
rapidly on. 

When we found that we were pursued we knew that 
tjie destruction of a bridge was the only thing that 
would save us and to do this we must outrun them far 
enough to burn the bridge before they came up. 

Now followed a trial of speed between locomotives 
— a race Avhich for desperate, dare-devil recklessness, 
velocity and the high stakes at issue was never equaled 
on land or water on the American continent. This was 
our last shuffle of the cards and the game was a des- 
perate one. It was swift vengeance on the one side 
and life or death on the other. 

Our locomotive was under a full head of steam. 
The engineer stood with his hand on the lever with 
the valve wide open. It was frightful to see how the 
powerful iron monster under us Avould leap forward 
under the revolutions of her great wheels. Brown 
would scream to me ever and anon, "Give her more 
wood, Alf !" which command was promptly obeyed.' 
She rocked and reeled liice a drunken man, while we 
tumbled from side to side like grains of pop-corn in a 
hot frying-pan. It was bewildering to look at the 
ground, or objects on the road-side. A constant stream 
of fire ran from the rims of the great wheels and to this 
day I shudder when I reflect on that, my first and last 
locomotive ride. We sped past stations, houses and 
fields and out of sight almost like a meteor, while thg 
bystanders who barely caught a glimpse of us as we 
passed, looked on as if in both fear and amazement. It 
has always been a wonder with me that our locomotive 
and cars kept the track at all, or how they could pot^ 


siblv stav on the track. At times the iron horse seemed 
literally to fly over the course, the driving-wheels of 
one side being lifted from the rails much of the dis- 
tance over wliicli we now sped with a velocity fearful 
to contemplate. We took little thought of the matter 
then. Death in a railroad smash-up would have been 
preferable to us to capture. We had but this choice 
left us. 

While we on the locomotive were making this pell- 
mell, ''devil-may-care" race, the men in the box-cars 
were not idle. They had, previous to leaving the last 
stopping place, taken on a lot of ties which they placed 
in the rear car. They then broke a large hole m the 
car and as we sped on would now and then drop out a 
tie to impede the progress of the pursuers. So great 
w^as our speed that sometimes when one of these ties 
struck the track it bounded twenty or thirty feet high 
and came whirling end over end after the train aa 
though shot after us from a cannon. 

Twiceor thrice did we stop to burn bridges, but in 
spite of the terrible speed we had made, only a few 
minutes Avould elapse before we could hear our pursuers 
thundering after us like a roaring storm-cloud before a 
furious wind. They had in the meantime picked up 
another passenger locomotive and train just in from the 
Rome branch of the Georgia road, which, with troops, 
was following close after the first train. 

We were now nearing DaJton, and, discovering the 
track all clear, we went through at a high rate of speed. 
Here is the only instance, I think, where we failed to do 
all that could have been done. We ran about two 
minutes too long before we stopped to cut the wire, t 


triedy and even insisted with Andrews, that we should 
stop the train sooner, but for some unknown reason he 
did not. It was all owing to this that our pursuers got 
a dispatch through to Chattanooga ahead of us. They 
had taken up a telegraph operator who was put off near 
Dal ton, and who succeeded in getting a dispatch through 
about two minutes before we cut down the wire. I • 
have since learned that the dispatch caused the wildest 
stampede in Chattanooga. Troops were called to arms, 
the railroad track torn up and cannon planted covering 
the track, while a double guard was kept on duty all 
night. As matters turned out, however, it made but 
little difference, except to scare the Chattanooga people 
nearly out of their senses. : . 

We had now arrived at a part of the road wliich we 
particularly wished to destroy. We therefore deter- 
mined to make another effort to burn a bridge, knowing 
that if we could destroy one we would be safe from our 
pursuers, while we could destroy the rest. /^ Other\Vise 
w^e would certainly fail. We kindled a fire in the rear 
car and put the locomotive again at full speed, so as to 
have all the time possible for the bridge to get well to 
burning before the pursuing train came up. We 
dropped off this burning car on the bridge when we 
reached it, and stopped to assist the fire in the work of 
destruction all we could. But we were not permitted 
to accomplish the task. We no more than fairly got to 
work before we saw the black smoke of the pursuing 
locomotive rolling above the trees as she came thunder- 
ing down the road at almost lightning speed. They 
seemed to know our design on the bridge and were 
gtraining every nerve to ^'f oil the attempt. They had 







one of the best locomotives on the road, and had a fresh 
supply of wood and water, while we had but little of 
either, our supply having nearly run out. 

Our situation was becoming more unpleasant every 
moment. The road was very rough here ; but, rough 
or smooth, our last thread of hope hung on the swift- 
ness of our tired locomotive. We crammed the furnace 
with every combustible we could lay hands on. Again 
she plunged ahead at frightful speed, reeling and rock- 
ing on the rough track like a drunken man. We made 
a sudden halt at a tank and wood-pile, and hastily pro- 
ceeded to " wood and water." We had, however, secured 
only a partial supply when the chasing train came in 
sight, loaded with armed soldiers. 

Our pursuers were worked up to an infuriated pitch 
of excitement and rent the verv air With their devilish 
screeches and yells as they came in sight of us, like dogs 
when the quarry is sprung. They opened on us at long 
range with musketry. The bullets rattled around us 
like hail, but fortunately none of our party was hit. 
This is the only instance I have ever heard of where 
troops were put into action on a moving railroad train 
and I am clear in my mind that this kind of warfare 
will never become popular if everybody regards it from 
my standpoint. |^A)^ 

Our iron horse was now put to its severest test, but 
our most strenuous efforts to place distance between 
ourselves and our pursuers were in vain. Their loco- 
motive was equal to ours and they were running it 
equally as reckless. We had nothing left on board to 
throw off and thus obstruct the track as we had previ- 
ously done. It was becoming more evident every mo. 



ment that our only and last hope lay in an abandon- 
ment of the locomotive and fleeing to the woods. 
Already our speed began to slacken™\ve bad neither 
wood, water nor oil. The locomotive shook and reeled 
as she sped on. I could liken her condition to nothing 
else than the last struggles of a faithful horse, whose 
heartless master has driven and lashed him until he is 
gasping for breath and literally dying in the harness. 
The powerful machine had carried us safiily for more 
than a hundred miles, some of the time at a rate of 
ispeed appalling to contemplate, but she was becoming 
helpless and useless in our service. She was shaken 
loose in every joint, at least she seemed go ; the brass 
on her journals and boxes was melted by the heat; her 
great steel tires almost red hot, while she smoked and 
sis^sled at every joint. Our race was almost run. 


f^*^ -i. 



Ban Bown at Last— We Jump tlie Train and Fly l» IIm 
Woods under Musketry Fire— How the Chase was Made— 
The Obstacles We Had to Encounter— Sensational Eebel 
Acoount of the Whole Affair— The Confederacy Badly 

FEW minutes before we came to our final halt/ 
Andrews, Brown, Enight and myself, who were 
on the engme and tender, having given up all 
hope of success, hastily discussed as to the best thing 
to be done, and it was concluded that the best course 
was to separate and scatter in all directions. In this 
way some of the party might possibly get aw&y, while 
if we went in a body and continued together, with the 
great number of rebel troops in our front and in the 
rear, and, in fact, on all sides of us, the capture of the 
entire party would be absolutely certain. In accord- 
ance with this conclusion, Andrews now told us all that 
it was ^^ every man for himself ;'^ that we must scatter 
and do the best we could to escape to the Federal lines. 
We put down the brakes and as we sprang off and she 
stopped, her motion was reversed, with the hope 
that she would run back and either cause collision or 
delay to the on-rushing train, with its frenzied, blood- 
thirsty passengers behind us, thereby giving us a little 


lever — She would not buclge a wheel nor move an incli, 
but stood useless and sullen on the track — she was dead* 

We did not stop even to take a farewell look but all 
struck for the woods, scattering in all directions except 
behind us. They came thundering up to within two 
hundred yards of where we stopped, and we could hear 
them shout, " Halt ! " ''Haiti" and while some were 
leaping off the cars, others opened fire on us with their 
muskets. Between the shrill whistle and steam of their 
locomotive, their' infernal screeches arid yells and the 
musketry fire, it seeme.l as if all Bedlam had been 
turned loose. This tumult only lent wings to our flight. 
The musket balls began to fly uncomfortably thick ; but 
we only ran the faster. As I jurhped and ran from the 
train I heard my name called, and looking back, saw 
my comrade, M^rk Wood, hastening after me. Halting 
for him we continued our flight together, and remained 
close companions iti many an after-adventure in Dixie. 

The reader may here be inclined to wonder, that 
with the start we had, the terrific speed with which 
we almost flew over the track, the rails we had torn up 
and the obstacles we had throvvn out to impede our 
pursuers, why it was that they gained upon us so rap- 
idly in such an incredibly short, time. But it must be 
remembered that much valuable time was lost in pass- 
ing^down trains, at one place having waited twenty- 
five minutes for a train. Train after train passed us, 
and on one occasion as many as eight or ten locomo- 
tives in a string— cars both empty and loaded, all hur- 
rying down the road in the effort to get all the available 
rolliiiff stock and property to a place of safety from the 
clutches of General MitchelPs triumphant and advaao 



ing army. Tlion, too, the time lost in getting wood 
and water, in cutting telegraph wires, altogether con- 
sumed many precious moments. The very excitement 
of the chase also brought those living near the track to 
the road in crowds, and they undoubtedly assisted in 
clearing obstructions as speedily as possible. The rebal 
account of the pursuit, published in the SoutJiern Con- 
federacy^ at Atlanta, April 15, 18G2, shows clearly how 
our pursuers gave us such a successful chase, and also 
shows the immense importance the Confederates 
attached to this recldess expedition, if it had been suc- 
cessful. I take the liberty here of reproducing the 
published account as it appeared in that paper, three 
da3's after the occurrence. It is as follows : 






Since our last issue we have obtained full particu- 
lars of the most thrilling railroad adventure that ever 
occurred on the American Continent, as well as the 
mightiest and most important in its results, if success- 
ful, that has been conceived by the Lincoln Government 
since the commencement of this war. Nothing on so 
grand a scale has been attempted, and nothing within 
the range of possibility could be conceived that would 
fall witE such a tremendous crushing force upon us, as 


the accomplishment of the plans which were concocted 
and dependent on the execution of the one whose history 
we now proceed to narrate. 

Its reality — what was actually done — excels all the 
extravagant conceptions of the Arrow-Smith hoax,, 
which fiction created such a profoufid sensation in 

To make the matter more complete and intelligible, 
we will take our readers over the same history of the 
case which we related in our last, the main features of 
whicli are correct, but are lacking in details, which 
have since come to hand. 

We will begin at the breakfast table of the Big 
Shanty Hotel, at Camp McDonald, on the W. & A. R. 
E., wh-ere sever^ regiments of soldiers are now 
encamped. The morning mail and passenger train had 
left here at 4 a. m. on last Saturday morning as usual, ' 
and had stopped there for breakfast. The conductor, 
William A. Fuller, the engineer, I. Cain — both' of this 
city— and the passengers were at the table, when some 
eight men, having uncoupled the engine and three 
empty box-cars next to it from the passenger and bag- 
gage cars, mounted the engine, pulled oppii the valve, 
put on all steam, and left conductor, engineer, passen- 
gers, spectators, and the soldiers in the camp hard by, 
all lost in amazement and dumbfounded at the strange^ 
startling and daring act. 

This ,unheard-of act was doubtless undertaken at 
that place and time, upon the presumption that pursuit 
could not be made by an engine short of Kingston, 
some thirty miles above, or from this place; and that 
by cutting down the telegraph wires as they proceeded, 
the adventurers could calculate on at least three or four 
hours the start of any pursuit it was reasonable to 
expect. This was a legitimate conclusion, and but for 
the will, energy and quick good judgment of Mr. 
Fuller and Mr. Cain, and Mr. Anthony Murphy, the 
intelligeat and practical foremau of the wood depart;;, 


ment of the State road shop, who accidentally went on 
the train from this place that morning, their calcula- 
tions AVould have worked out as originally contempla- 
ted, and the results would have been obtained long ere 
this reaches the eyes of our readers — the most terrible 
to us of any that we can . conceive as possible, and 
unequal ed by anything attempted or conceived since 
this war commenced. 
, Now for the chase 1 

These three determined men, without a moment's 
delayj put out after the flying train — on foot^ amidst 
shouts of laughter by the crowd, who, though lost in 
amazement at the unexpected and daring act, could not 
repress their risibility at seeing three men start after a 
train on foot, which they had just witnessed depart at 
lightning speed. They put on all their speed, and ran 
along the track for three milcG, when they came across 
some track-raisers, who had a small truck-car, which is 
shoved along by men so employed on railroads, on 
which to carry their tools. This truck and men Avere 
at once " impressed " They took it by turns of two at 
a time to run behind this truck and push it along all up 
grades and level portions of the road, and let it drive 
at will on all the down grades. A little way further 
up the fugitive adventurers had stopped, cut the tele- 
graph wires and torn up the track. Here the pursuers 
were thrown off pell-mell, truck and men, upon the 
side of the road. Fortunately, " nobody was hurt on 
our side." The truck was soon placed on the road 
again ; enough hands were left to repair the track and 
with all the power of determined will and muscle, they 
pushed on to Etowah Station, some twenty miles above. 

Pere, most fortunately. Major Cooper's old coal 
engine, the " Yonah " — one of the first engines on the 
State road — was standing out, fired up. This venerable 
locomotive was immediately turned upon her old track 
and like an old racer at the tap of the drum, pricked 
up her ears and made fine time to Kingstoiu Jf ' 


The fugitiveis, not expecting such early pursuit, 
quietly took in wood and water at Cass Station, and 
borrowed a schedule from the tank-tender upon the 

idausible plea that they were running a pressed train, 
oaded with powder for Beauregard. The attentive 
and patriotic tank-tender, Mr. William Eussell, said he 
gave them his schedule, and would have sent the shirt 
off his back to Beauregard, if it had been asked for. 
Here the adventurous fugitives inquired which end of 
the switch they should go in on at Kingston. When 
they arrived at Kingston, they stopped, went to the 
agent there, told the powder story, readily got the 
switch-key, went on the upper turn-out, and waited for 
tHe down way freight trmn to pass. To all inquiries 
they replied with the same powder story. When the 
freight train had passed, they immediately proceeded 
on to the next station — Adairsville — where they were 
to meet the regular down freight tram. At some 
point on the way they had taken on some fifty cross- 
ties, and before reaching Adairsville, they stopped on a 
curve, tore up the rails, and put several cross-ties on the 
track — no doubt intending to wreck this down freight 
train, which would be along in a few minutes. They 
had out upon the engine a red handkerchief, as a kind 
of flag or siffnal, which, in railroading, means another 
train is behind — thereby indicating to all that the 
regular passenger train would be along presently. 
They stopped a moment at Adairsville, and said Fuller, 
with the regular passenger train, was behind, and would 
wait at Kingston for the freight train, and told the 
conductor thereon to push ahead and meet him at that 
point. They passed on to Calhoun, where they met 
the down passenger train, due here at 4:20 p. m., and 
without making any stop, they proceeded— on, on 
and on. 

But we must return to Fuller and his party whom 
,we have unconsciously left on the old " Yonah " making 
their way to Kingston.^ 


Arriving there and learning the adventurers were 
but twenty minutes ahead, they left the " Yonah " ta 
blow oflF, while they mounted the engine of the Borne 
Branch Eoad, which was ready fired up and waiting 
for the arrival of the passenger train nearly due, when 
it would have proceeded to Kome. A large party of 
gentlemen volunteered for the chase, some at Acworth, 
Allatobna, Kingston and other points, taking such arms 
as they could lay their hands on at the moment ; and 
with this fresh engine they set out with all speed but 
with great "care and caution," as they had scarcely 
time to make Adairsville before the down freight train 
would leave that point. Sure enough, they discovered 
this side of Adairsville three rails torn up a^nd other 
impediments in the way. They "took up" in time to 
prevent an accident, but could proceed with the train 
no further. This was most vexatious, and it may have 
been in some degree disheartening, but it did not cause 
the slightest relaxation of efforts, and as the result 
proved was but little in the way of the dead game^ pluck 
and resolutions of Fuller and Murphy, who left the 
engine and again ^w^ out on foot alom ! After running 
two niiles they met the down freight train, one mile 
out from Adairsville. They immediately reversed the 
train and run backwards to Adairsville — ^put the ears 
on the siding and pressed forward, making fine time to 
Calhoun, where they met the regular down passenger 
train. Here they lialted a moment, took on board a 
telegraph operator, and a number of men who again 
volunteered, taking their guns along — and continued 
the chase. Mr. Fuller also took on here a company of 
track hands to repair the track as they went along. A 
short distance above Calhoun they pushed their garne 
on a curve, where they doubtless supposed themselves 
out of danger, and were quietly oiling the engine, 
taking up the track, etc. Discovering that they were 
pursiied, they mounted and sped away, throwing out 
upon the track as they went along the heavy oross-ties 


they had prepared themselves with. This was done by 
breaking out the end of the hindmost box-car, and 
pitching them out. Thus, " nip and tuck," they passed 
with fearful speed Kesaca, Tilton, and on through 

The rails which the)^ had taken up last ^ they took oflf 
with them — besides throwing out cross-ties upon the 
track occasionally — hoping thereby the more surely to 
impede the pursuit ; but all this was like tow to the 
touch of fire, to the now thoroughly aroused, excited 
, and eager pursuers. These men, though so much ex- 
cited and influenced by so much determination, still 
retained their well-known caution, were looking out for 
this danger and discovered it, and though it was seem- 
ingly an insuperable obstacle to their making any head- 
way in pursuit, was (Juickly overcome by the genius of 
Fuller and Murphy. Coming to where the rails were 
torn up, they stopped, tore up rails behind them, and 
laid them down before, till they passed over that obsta- 
cle. When the cross-ties were reached, they hauled to 
and threw them off, and thus proceeded, and under 
these difficulties gained on the fugitives. At Dalton 
they halted a moment. Fuller put off the telegraph 
operator, with ini^ructions to telegraph to Chattanooga 
to have them stopped, in case he should fail to over- 
haul them.' 

Fuller pressed on in hot chase — sometimes in sight — 
as much to prevent their cutting the wires before the 
message could be sent as to catch them. The daring 
adventurers stopped just opposite and very near to 
where Colonel (jlenn's regiment is encamped, and cut 
the wires, but the operator at Dalton had put the mes- 
sage through about t^o minutes before. They also again 
tore up the track, cut down a telegraph-pole, and placed 
the two ends under the cross-ties, and the middle over 
the rail on the track. The pursuers stopped again and 
got over this impediment in the same manner they did 
before— takijgig up rails behind and laying them down 


before. Onoe over tliia, ihoy sliot on, and passed 
through the grcU tiiimiil, at Tunnel ilill. boiii;^' then 
only live minutes buiiind. The fii'^itives thus Unding 
themselves closely ituisucd, uncoupleil two of the box- 
cars from the onyiiie, to imijede tlio [irogress of the 
Eursuers. Fuller iiiistily ef)U|ilod them to the front of 
is engine, and piialied tht;in tdiciid of hira to the first 
turn-out or siding, whore thoy were left — thus preveat- 
iiis the collision the adventurers intended. 
-Thas the enginc-tliieves passed Kiiiggoid, where they 
began to fag. They were out of wood, water and oil. 
Their rapid running and inattention to the engine, had 
melted all the brass from tlie journals. They had no 
time to repair or relit, for an iron horse of more bot- 
tom was clflise bcliind. l'"ullcr and Murphy and their 
men soon came within four hundred yarils of them, 
when the fugitives jumped fcom the engine and left it 
—three on the nortii side and five on the south side- 
all fleeing precipitately and scattering through the 
thicket. Tuller and his party also took to the woods 
after them. 

Some gentlemen, also well armed,, took the engine 
and some cars of the down passenger train at Calhoun, 
and followed up Fuller and Murphy and their party in 
the chase, but a short distance bcnind, and reached the 
place of the stampede but a very few moments after 
the first pursuers did. A large number of men were 
soon mounted, armed, and scouring the country ia 
Bearch of them. Fortunately there was a militia mus- 
ter at Binggold. A great many countrymen were in 
tosyn. Hearing of the chase, they put out on foot and 
ofi horseback, in every direction, in search of the daring, 
but now thoroughly frightened and fugitive men. 

We learn that Fuller, soon after leaving his engine, 
in passing a cabin in the country, found a mule having 
on a briclle but no saddle, and tied to a fence. " Herfy 
yowr rmde" he shouted, as he leaped upon his back and 
pot out w fast aa a good ewitch, well applied, could 


impart vigor to the muscles and accelerate the speed ai 
the patient donkey. The cry of " Here's your mule ! " 
and " Where's mv mule ? " have become national, and 
are generally heard when, on the one hand, no mule is 
about, and on the other, when no one is hunting a 
mule. It seems not to be understood by any one, 
though it is a peculiar Confederate phrase, and is as 
popular as ^' Dixie " from the Potomac to the Rio 
Grande, It remained for Fuller, in the midst of this 
exciting chase, to solve the mysterious meaning of this 
national bye-word or phrase, and give it a practical 

AH of the eight men were captured, and are now 
safely lodged in jail. The particulars of their capture 
we have not received. This we hope to obtain in time 
for a postscript to this, or for our second edition. They 
confessed that they belonged to Lincoln's army, ani 
had been sent down from Shelbyville to burn the 
brido;es between here and Chattanooga ; and that the 
whole party consisted of nineteen men, eleven of whom 
were dropped at several points on the road as they came 
down, to assist in the burning of the bridges as they 
went back. 

When the morning freight train which left this city 
reached Big Shanty, Lieutenant Colonels R. F. Maddox 
and C. P. Phillips took the engine and a few cars, 
with fifty picked men, well armed, and followed on as 
rapidly as possible. They passed over all difficulties, 
and got as tar as Calhoun, Avhere they learned the fugi- 
tives had taken to the wooils, and were pursued by 
plenty of men, with the laeans to catch them if it 
were possible. 

One gentleman, who went up on the train from Cal- 
houn, who has furnished us with many of these partic- 
ulars, and who, by the way, is one of the most experi- 
enced railroad men in Georgia, says too much praise 
cannot be bestowed on Fuller and Murphy, who showed 
a cool judgment and forethought in this extraordinary 


_> Kn Chattanooga and KnoxviH'- i™' ^"^ ™ V>''- 
"■ »«re burnt, and press on into ■"™»"' "'=„ l""™ from 
d take all our forces in i". aco^nnt, $100 reward on 



~ Ttil tlie deepest laid seh-^ision of the villains. 
,S*]*"- that ever emanated -'f Go™™<»- Brown will do in this 
^5* Yankees combine '="stom m such matters but ]f such a 
??*• practicable on *'?' ^^ msist on I uller and Murphy be- 
^' were but tw ^"^ highest honors on tlie road— ii not 
^ V thev did n*^ iving them the highest positions, at least let 
*» and thet^°™**''^ ^i' ^^^>'^^- Certainly their indoroit- 

^'^ Maior/Sy ^°^ qnick, correct judD:nient and decision 

gpgj^yiaiiy difficult continj^en'cies connected with this 
^jg-jird of emergency, has saved all the railroad bridges 
re Ringgold from being burned ; the most daring 
!me that this revolution has developed has been 
'arted, and the tremendous results which, if suecess- 
'iil, can scarcely be imagined, much less described, have 
leen averted. Had tney succeeded in burning the . 
>ridges, the enemy at Huntsville would have occupied 
Chattanooga before Sunday night. Yesterday they 
would have been in Knoxville, and thus had possession 
of all East Tennessee. Our forces at Knoxville, Green- 
ville and Cumberland Gap would, ere this, have been in 
the hands of the enemy. Lynchburgh, Va., would have 
been moved upon at once. This would have given 
them possession of the valley of Virginia, acd Stonewall 
Jackson coald have been attacked m the rear. They 
would have possession of the railroad leading to Char- 
lottesville and Orange Court House, as well as the 
South Side Eailroad, leading to Petersburgh and 
Richmond. They might have been able to unite with 
McCtellan's forces afid attack Jo. Johnston's army, 
front and flank. It is not by any means improbable 
tli^at our army in Virginia \vould have been tlefoated, 
captured or driven ont of the State this week. 

Then reinforcements from all the Eastern and South- 
eastern portion of the country would have been cut off 
Xrom Beauregard. The enemy have HoatsviUe aowj 

50 "th: foot ra.ce BAVE13 us.*' 

and with all tlieso\^i-ns accomplished ^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^^ 
have been efYecUia 11 v blanked. The ™^^\?^J ^J^^^ 
shrink ap])alled at the cl\ful consequences that a^^^^^^^ 
have f oUmved the success of 't Js one act When ^uliej 
Murphy and Cain started from^l« ^^^'^\o^£viU 
capture that fiu/ltlve engine, the\^^^;f[^ matter was— 
laughed at by the crowd, serious as t^^i. iiidicrous' 
and to most observers it was indeed m,^» consmn* 
but that foot race sa-oed vs, and ]ire vented \ 
mation of all these tremendous consequencesSy_ i v^^ 

One fact, we must not omit to mention, is th^ ^ 

assistance rendered by Peter l^rp.cken, the ^^gd\TM.ned 
the down freight train which Fuller and Murphy w;x^^ 
back. lie ran his engine fifty and a half miles-Xjjpg. 
of them backing the whole freight train up to AdaL 
ville — made twelve stops, coupled to the two cars whn 
the fugitives had dropped, and switched them off oi 
sidings — all this, m one hour andfice minutes. 

We doubt if the victory of Manassas or Corinth were^ 
worth as much to us as the frustration of this grand 
€oup d^ etat. It is not by any means certain that the 
annihilation of Beauregard's whole army at Corinth 
would be so fatal a blow to us as would have been the 
burning of the bridges at that time and by these men. 

When we learned by a private telegraph dispatch a 
few days ago, that the Yankees had taken Huntsville, 
we attached no great importance to it. We regarded 
it merely as a dashing foray of a small party to destroy 
property, tear up the road, etc., a la Morgan. When 
an additional telegram announced the Federal force 
there to be from seventeen thousand to twenty thousand, 
we were inclined to doubt — though coming from a per- 
fectly honorable and upright gentleman, who would 
not be apt to seize upon a wild report to send here to 
his friends. The coming to that point with a large 
force, where they would be flanked on either side by 
our army, we regarded as a most stupid and unmilitary 
|U3t. We now understand it aiL They were to move 

•'the Deepest laid scheme.'* 61 

upon Chattanooga and KnoxviHe as soon as the bridges 
were burnt, and press on into Virginia as far as possible, 
and take all our forces in that State in the rear. It was 
all the deepest laid scheme and on the grandest scale 
that ever emanated from the brains of anv number of 
Yankees combined. It was one that was also, entirely 
practicable on almost any day for the last year. There 
were but two miscalculations in the whole programme; 
they did not expect men to start on foot to pursue them, 
and they did not expect these pursuers on foot to find 
Major Cooper's old '' Yonah '"' standing there all ready 
fired up. Their calculations on every other point were 
dead certainties, and would have succeeded perfectly. 

This w^ould have eclipsed anything Captain Morgan 
ever attempted. To think of a i>arcei of Federal 
soldiei^, officers and privates, coming down into the 
heart of the Confederate Stajes — for they were here in 
Atlanta and at Marietta — (some of them got on the 
train at Marietta that morning and others were at Big 
Shanty ;) of playing such a serious game on the State 
Road, "which is under the control of our prompt, ener- 
getic and sagacious Governor, known as such all over 
America; to seize the passenger train on his road, right 
at Camp McDonald, where he has a number of Georgia 
regiments encamped, and run off with it ; to burn the 
bridges on the same road, and go safely through to the 
Federal lines — all this would have been a feather in tho 
cap of the man or men who executed it. 

Let this be a warning to the railroad men and every 
body else in the Confederate States. Let an engine 
never be left alone a moment. Let additional guards 
be placed at our bridges. This is a matter we specially 
urged in the Confederacy long ago. Wo hope it will 
now be heeded. Further: let a sufficient guard be 

traced to watch the government stores in this city ; and 
et increased vigilance and watchfulness be put forth by 
the w^atchmen. We know one solitary man who is 
guarding a house in this city^ which contains a lot of 


bacon. Two or three men could throttle and gag him 
and set fire to the house at any time ; and worse, he 
conceives that there is no necessity for a guard, as he is 
sometimes seen off duty, for a few moments — fully long 
enough for an incendiary to burn the house he watches. 
Let fir. Shakelford, whom we ktiow to be watchful and 
attentive to his duties, take the responsibility at once of 
placing a well armed guard of sufficient force around 
every house containing government stores. Let this 
be done without waiting" for instructions from Kich- 

One other thought. The press is required by the 
Government to keep silent about the movements of the 
army, and a great many things of the greatest interest 
to our P^ple. It has, in the main, patriotically com- 
plied, ne have complied in most cases, but our judg- 
ment was against it all the while. The plea is that the 
enemy will get the news, if it is published in our papers. 
Now, we again ask, Avhat's the use ? The enemy get 
what information they want. They are with us and 
pass among us almost daily. They find out from us 
what they want to know, by passing through our coun- 
try unimpeded. It is nonsense, it is folly, to deprive 
our own people of knowledge they are entitled to and 
ought to know, for fear the enemy will find it out. 
We ought to have a regular system of passports over 
all our roads, and refuse to let any man pass who could 
not give a good account of himself^-come well vouched 
for and make it fully appear that he is not an enemy, 
and that he is on legitimate business. This would keep 
information from the enemv far more effectually than 
atiy reticence of the press, ^hich ought to lay before our 
people the full facts in everything of a public nature. / 


-'Nip and Tuck" — A Grand Old "Yankee" Man-Hunt— dtHtoeiH, 
Soldien and Dogs Join the Cha^e — Mark Wood and I Squat 
in a Little Brush Pile— The Secesh Come to the Hunt by 
Hundreds — " Ticklish "^ Situation for Thirty -Six Hours — 
Escape to the Mountains— Discovered by Women in a Fod- 
der-Pile—We Tell a Plausible Story — Begging Victuals — 
Another Lynx-Eyed Woman— "You Are Union Men; You 
Can't Fool Me." 


**B7 Tdght I heard them on the track, 
Their tfoopa came bard upon onr back, 
With their long gallop, which can tire 
The hound's deep hate, and hunter's fire. ** 

O return to our flight from the engine. Aftosr 
running some distance, Wood and I came to a 
large, open field, on the slope of a mountain just in 
front of us. To attempt to cross this wide, open space 
would expose us too much for safety, besides, we were 
nearly out of breath — too near, at least, to attempt 
suoh a run. We were in much perplexity as to wha>t to 
do. We could hear the enemy shouting, and the con« 
stant report of fire-arms warned us that the remorseless, 
blood-thirsty crowd was waging a war of exterminar 
tion, and, as we listened, we could distinctly hear them 
coming as well as see them. There was no time to be 
lost. A fortuitous circumstance saved us. The woods 
were too opeu for a man to hide in, Imt as I glmoed 


about I saw where a tree had been cut dowu, probably 
in the summer previous, and the brush which had been 
trimmed off lay scattered around with the dried leaves 
still clinging to it. My plan was formed instantly and 
I told Wood to lay down. I hastily laid a few leafy 
boughs on him in such a manner as not to show that 
they had been displaced. Mark was soon out of sight 
in a little flat, unpretentious pile, that would scarcely 
be noticed among the other rubbish, and with almost 
the quickness of a rabbit I slipped out of sight under 
the heap by Mark's side. I now drew my revolver and 
told Mark to do likewise. I felt a sense of desperation 
which I had never felt before. We were in a high 
state of excitement and realized that the frenzied crowd 
of man-hunters, then deploying all over the woods, 
would show us no mercy. From the constant report of 
fire-arms which rang in our ears, we had reason to be- 
lieve that some of our unfortunate comrades were being 
shot down like cattle, perhaps all except ourselves had 
been killed. We felt that in all human probability we 
would be discovered, indeed it seemed almost impossible 
that they could miss finding us. We felt that if discov- 
ered it would be more manly to stand up and die fight- 
ing, even against great odds and with no hope of escape, 
than to be shot down like dogs unresistingly, or, in the 
alternative that we should possibly be taken prisoners, 
hung like felons, at the end of a sham trial. 

We were surrounded on every side by enemies thirst- 
ing for our blood. As I afterwards learned, within a 
few hundred yards from where we left our engine, two 
regiments of cavalry were encamped. It was muster- 
day at Binggold, two miles away^ and hundreds of 

iiron^ OF DEBFAiB. 6S 

fenBere, anned and mounted, were collected theM. The 
road was lined with soldiers. The alarm had been sent 
to Chattanooga by telegraph, and trains loaded with 
troops and scouts were hurrying to the scene. • The 
day was dark, cloudy and rainy. Our boys were unao- 
qoainted with the countrj', and with the stars and sun 
hidden did not know the south from the north. Within 
an hour or two the whole country was alive with 
scont^and hunters. There was not a by-path or cross- 
road that was not thoroughly explored. To add to the 
terrors of the situation, well-trained hounds were put 
□pen the track of our party, and many of them were 
trailed down with unerring certainty. In my conceal- 
■ ment I feit all the desperation and anguish of mind 
that a m^ CQuld feel in my situation. We had failed 
and were disappointed. Wo had been run down and 
had gone to the last extremity of human endurance to 
make our escape. Our enemies were infuriated. We 
had made such superhuman exertions within the last 
half hour, ending in our up-hill race to the brush-hoap, 
that we were almost breathless. It did not at that 
fSme seem to me that it ivould require many rebel bullets 
to finish my part of the story. Several times, as they 
passed us so close that I could have touched their legs 
with my hand, I was on the point of springing up, and, 
VJlth a loud yell, beginning the work of death at close 
range with my revolver. I could not, even in a whis- 
per, communicate my wishes to Wood, without betray- 
tog oar place of concealment. Our hearts thumped so 
loud that it seemed to me they could be heard twenty- 
yards distant. Mark had run till ho could run no f ur^ 
thei; But our pursuers mad6 so much noise themeelret 


that they could hear nothing else. They were all 
yelling, swearing, cursing and shooting. They were 
like dogs chasing a rabl^it in tall weeds — all jumping 
and Jooking high, while the game was close to the 
ground. We could hear much of the conversation as 
they passed us. Two stalwart johnnies, each with a 
musket, as they passed near us, spied two of our com- 
rades going across a distant part of the great open 
field. . : . 

" There goes two of them, " said one of the johnnies. 

" Come on, let'slgo for them ! " • . 

''Let us get some, "• said the other. 

"But, you see,. they have no guns, " said the first. 

And thus they passed out of hearing,, baiting and 
debating, but evidently distrusting the policy of tack- 
ling the train-robbers even-handed. 

It was some time. in the afternoon when we took ref- 
uge in the brush-heap, ;and in .that spot we were com- 
pelled to remain all that night, all the next. day and far 
into the second i^ight, before we dared venture forth. 
The night was one of terrible. anxiety to. us.. Our con- 
dition was the extrepae. The. entire night 
long could be heard the shouts and yells and impreca- 
tions and firing ol the frenzied horde. The whole 
country was aroused and swarmed with soldiers and 
citizens. Every road and cross-road was watched night 
and day that none of the " rascals -' might escape. Wo 
could hear the deep baying of blood-hounds, as they 
scoured through woods and fields, but, luckily for us, 
80 many men had tramped over the ground in the 
vicinity of the place where we jumped from the train 
that the dogs could not* work. Still men and dogs^ 


were scouring the woods in every direction and it was 
unsafe to make tracks. To add still more to the wretch- 
edness of our condition, the rain was almost incessant 
The place of our concealment was a little lower than 
the ground surrounding and much of the time the 
water was three or four inches deep where we lay. This, 
with hunger and wet clothing, made us extremely un- 

^Lfter darkness had closed in for some time, on the 
second night, however, we were compelljBd to come out, 
capture or no capture. We could stand it no longer. 
On crawling out, our limbs were so stiff and sore tiiat 
it was with the utmost difficulty that we could move, 
and it was only by rubbing and working them vigor- 
ously that we could begin to use them. It did not seem 
that we could travel very far, do our best, with such 
stiffened limbs. After looking about, we decided to 
take an opposite course from that which our comrades 
had taken, thinking there would be less vigilance on 
the part of the hunters in that direction. We desired 
also to get into the mountains, thinking we would thwe 
have a better chance for our lives. I suppose at this 
time we were less than twenty miles from Chattanooga. 
The rain still fell in torrents, but as we went on and 
our stiffened limbs got limbered up, we began to make 
good time. Our desire was, as soon as we could get 
beyond the immediate reach of our enemies, to bend 
our course in the direction of the Federal lines. But 
we must by all means avoid Chattanooga. We knew 
that. -y^' 

We traveled as rapidly as we could that night, and 
about daybreak, of Monday morning, we saw an old 



; t , ■ 

log hnt off by itself some distance from any road. We 
idshed very much to get shelter from the cold rain, 
which had chilled us almost to the point of freezing. 
/We found the hut to be a sort of bam, the mow of 
which was full of bundles of corn-fodder. We made a 
hole down in the mow and covered ourselves out of 
Bight and went to sleep. ^ 

About one o'clock in the day, as we slumbered, we 
were awakened by somebody in the mow and soon 
found out that two women were looking there for eggs. 
One of them nearest us said: "Here is a hole; I 
wouldn't wonder if there is a nest in here ; " and at the 
same time she* thrust her hand down and, as bad luck 
would have it, she touched one of my hands and started 
back with a scream, which brought up the other woman 
imd they threw off the bundles and there we were. 
They were both badly frightened aiid ran for the house 
with all their might. We hastily crawled out and 
brushed some of the chaff from our clothes and after a 
moment's thought concluded that the best thing for us 
to do would be to go to the house and apologize to them 
and in swidition try to get something tp eat. 
I Who is the man who has ever in his life vainly 
appealed, in a becoming and respectful manner, for - 
food, when hungry, to a woman? If man excels ir/ 
the brutal art of war and killing his fellow beings with 
guccessful and unsparing hand, or being himself killed 
without a murmer, all of which passes for bravery, 
noble woman excek in those higher and more GodldEe 
attributes of sympathy for the distressed and charity 
to the needy. I believe this to be true the world over, 
wbfice woman is treated as the egual of maiv 



"Wo went to the door, bowed politely and apologized^for 
the unintentional scare we had caused them. We then 
told them we had been in pursuit of the train-robbers 
and that wet, cold and sleepy, we preferred to take 
shelter in the barn rather than disturb any one at tne 
dead hour of night. This story seemed to be satisfac- 
tory to them, when we told them we were hungry aiid 
askedthemforsomethingtoeat. They had just had their 
■ dinner and the table still stood out on the floor. They 
gave us a pitcher of butter milk and some corn-bread, 
all they had unless we Avould wait for them to cook us 
something, which we did not wish them to do, as we 
did not care to make our visit too tedious. , This was 
the first food we had eaten since the morning we left 
Marietta and homely as was the fare it tasted good.' 
We paid them and left much refreshed and strength- 
ened by our food and rest. We started away on a road, 
but as Boon as we got well out of sight of the house we 
cbanged-our course and soon after concealed ourselres 
in a dense thicket and there awaited the shades of night 
to come and conceal our further movements. 

We bad not been in the thicket long before we saw 
a squad of mounted soldiers pass down the road ive had 
previously left and which was some distance from us. 
From their loud talk and their manner of march, we 
concluded they were a party of man-hunters. Whether 
they had gained any information at the house where 
we had been we could not tell, but we laid down and 
kept quiet. When right came we shaped our course as 
near as we could, without following any voad, toward 
tiie Tennessee Eiver, cast of Chattanoc^a. Durmg iba 
night march we narrowly missed running into a guard 


post at the crosjsing of a road, but fortunately heard 
them in time. We weiit around them and on our way 
undisturbed. At the dawn of Tuesday we had just 
arrived at the foot of the mountains and breathed 
easier, for we felt more secure than we had in the open 
country. We concealed ourselves in a comfortable 
place and witnessed the rising of the sun. Its loveli- 
ness and genial warmth never before cheered me so 
much as then. But we soon fell asleep from weariness 
and did not wake until nearly night. As soon as it was 
dark we started again. We had a toilsome night march, 
feeling our way over rocks, climbing precipitous places 
and at other times descending the steep mountain side 
on the run, through bushes and among rocks. 

When Wednesday morning came we found that we 
were still surrounded by mountains on all sides, with 
. Ho signs of a habitation or a human being in sight. 
When the sun got well up and it was comfortably 
warm, we lay down and took a nap. The pangs of 
hunger were, by this time, pressing us distressingly. 
W« had in all this time only tasted food once since the 
raid began and that was the scanty meal we made on 
buttermilk and corn-bread, Monday afternoon. In this 
starving extremity we decided 14iat there was no great 
risk run in this lonely region if we should travel by 
day, and after so deciding, we pushed on with our 
utmost energy, as a hungry man will do when he hopes 
soon to find food. 

We were guiding our course by the sun, and during 
the afternoon we came out on the brow of a high 
mountain, overlooking a beautiful little valley, thickly 
Aotted with houses. From our elevated position we 

->^-» ^- •» 



could see everything the valley contained. > tionght 
it one of the loveliest sights I had ever seen — tuat quiet, 
peaceful little valley. I looked at each house and 
wished that I could go into even the humblest and ask 
for a piece of corn-bread. I pictured in my hungry 
imagination the good things to eat in each little cottage, 
and wondered how we could safely manage to get a 
morsel of their stores of abundanfiie to satisfy our great 
hunger. The more I looked at that little valley the 
more it looked like a little paradise of peace and plenty, 
where sorrow and hunger never entered. And tho 
longer I looked, the hungrier I became. 

Near the foot of the mountain was a small log K/Use, 
a little separated from the rest, and we kne^* X was 
inhabited from the smoke that curled up fi^m the 
chimney. "We concluded to venture down and apply 
for food. A young-looking woman appeared at the 
door, and, after the salutations of the day, we told her 
that we had been lost in the mountains and were in 
need of something to eat. She invited us to seats, and 
at once set about getting us a meal. We inquired the 
way to the next town, tlie name of which I pretended 
I could not just speak, but she helped me out by men- 
tioning the name — Cleveland. We learned from her 
that the town was only a short distance away and that 
tUere were no soldiers there. This was gratifying, bui 
not near as much so as the savory odors of the haift, 
eggs and rye coffee she was preparing for us. We 
could hardly wait until the corn-bread was cooked, and . 
when she invited us to take seats at her table, we soon 
gave her satisfactory evidence that we had told the 
truth about being hungry, although we had stretched 


the facts a little about being lost. We paiJl the woman 
for our dinner, and, without delay, took our leave. 

We felt very much the need of a map, and after a 
near approach to the little town of Cleveland, and a 
careful survey of the surroundings, I left Wood in a 
secluded spot to wait while I walked boldly in and 
went to a book-store and asked for a school atlas. 
They had Mitchell's Geography and Atlas. As the 
author was none other than my commanding General, 
I had no reason to doubt that through the aid of 
his map I might reach his camp, if he had not moved 
too far since I left. I had to buy the geograpliy too if 
I took the atlas, and, taking the books under my arm, 
like some countryman who lived near by in the moun- 
tains, no one seemed to pay any attention to me. We 
were soon in the woods again, when we tore out such por- 
tions of the atlas as we needed and hid the rest under a 
log, after which we took our course and pushed on, 
making good progress. We knew that we must, by 
this time, be in the vicinity of the Tennessee River. 
Our plan was to reach the river as soon as possible and 
secure a boat of some kind, after which we would drift 
down the river to Bridgeport, Stevenson, or some point 
nearest the Federal lines. 

Towards evening of this day we came to the terminus 
of the mountain in this direction, and from its great 
height, -we had a commanding view of the valley below, 
which, though beautiful in scenery, was sparsely settled. 
In the evening we descended the mountain and felt our 
way cautiously across the valley. After a time we 
came to a log house. There seemed to be no stir about 
the premises, and, as we were still hungry, we concludeii 


to apply for something more to eat. "We had been 3o 
hniigry that we hail not dared to eat all our appetites 
craved at the last place. 

There man to be seen about the houae, bnt 
the woman, who was a noblt!, dignified-looking l&dy, 
plainly dressed, told ua to be seated. I noticed fier 
looking at us with that scrutinizing, inquiring gaze of a 
woman in doubt, and I could read her thoughts as. 
plainly as if she had spoken them to us. I knew 
enough about woman, too, to Ivuow that whatever her 
first impressions are they would be unchangeable, 
80 I said, without further hesitation, "We are in need of 
something to eat." She said if we could put up with 
such fare as she had we were welcome. We told her 
that we were quite hungry and any kind of food would 
be welcome. As she proceeded about her work, I 
noticed that on 'every opportunity slie scrutinized ns 
very sharply, and I became a little uneasy. 

Presently she asked us if we were traveling, to which 
I rephed that we were on our way to Harrison, which 
was a small villatje a few miles from there. I still 
noticed that she was eyeing us keenly and closely, ajid 
that her mind was not at rest on the subject, when sud- 
denly she turned, looked us squarely in the face, and 
startled us by saying : 

" You are Union men ! You can't fool me ! I know 
a Union man by his look. You need not deny it, nor 
need you be afraid to own it, either. I am a Unioa 
woman, and I am not afraid to own it to anybody. 
The secessionists around here don't like me a bit, for 1 
say just what I think of them, whether they like it 
or not Further, I know that you are Union, men 


trying to get to the Union army and you need not go 
to the trouble to deny it. I will do anything I can to 
help you." 

. We stoutly denied any such intention, and told her 
that we had been soldiers in the Confederate army. 
But that did no good; She seemed to have made up 
her mind, and no assertions of ours could change it. So 
we. let her have it her own way and we had ours. 
Soon after her husband came in. He was rather a 
fine-looking fellow, with a frank, maniy face. , 

When supper was over we offered this loyal woman 
pay, but she refused to take our money, saying that 
anything she could do for a Union man she would do 
with a glad heart and willing hands. She said she 
wished the Union army would come — she would give 
them everything she had before the rebels came in 
and robbed them. 

As we took our leave, she told her husband to give 
us all the information that he could as to pur route, 
*^For," said she to him, "you know old Snow, with his 
company of cavalry, is in the neighborhood, and he 
will be upon them before they know it.^ He is watch- 
ing every nook and road in the settlement to prevent 
Union men from getting away from the rebel conscrip- 

We felt, while in the presence of these good people, 
that we were with friends, although we did not think it 
prudent to show any sort of sympathy or undue friend- 
ship with their expressions of loyalty, and, though we 
did not show it, Ave felt much regret at parting from 
them, for we seldom met with their like. ., We wer© 
convinced they were true Union people. 

•^ T 


Capturod by Old fc^now's Cavalry— -A Deceptive Story that 
Wins — A TciTiblo Risk— "Circumstances Alter Cases" — Re- 
leased— Taking tko Oath — A Rcd-Hot Rebel Lecture — Again 
in the MountainH — A Loyal Woman in the Case, and Her 
No Less Loyal Husband — Stowed Away in a Safe Hiding 
Place — **I Knew You Were Union Men all the Time" — 
Night March with a Guide — Stealing a Boat — Safe Arrival 
on the Tennessee River — Night of Terror on the Tennessee— 
Storm of Sleet and Hciil— Almost Frozen— Sheltered in a 
Cabin— A New Story Invented, 

HAT night we passed in the woods, and contin- 
ued our journey Thursday morning. The valley 
through which our course lay Avas thickly inhab- 
itejl, and we had observed the greatest possible pre- ' 
caution, as we supposed, in avoiding "old Snow's'' 
cavalry. Our surprise Avas all the greater then, when, 
without the least Avarning, we heard the stern 
command : 

"Halt there, you! Halt, or I will blow your brains 

A hasty glance around failed to discover any safe 
chance of retreat. We were captured, and there was 
no course for us to pursu jt to submit to the unpleas- 
ant inevitable. We invoiuntarily clenched our revol- 
vers at the first warning of danger, but it was useIes.H 
to open a fight with a large cavalry squad — the odds 
6 (6o> 


■was too great. We would stand no show at all and we 
thought perhaps "we could ^ by a litt).e dij)loinacy, effect 
our release from these captors. , ; 

The captain of the squad seemed to be a pmnpous, 
and, according to his own account, a blood-thirsty war- 
rior, for he said it was not his custom to take prisoners' 
but to hang and shoot all who fell into his hands. He 
asked us a^reat many questions, including, of course, 
our place of residence and our names, ail of which we 
answered very promptly, although I will not say truth- 
fully, for truth we deemed "too great a pearl to cast 
before such swine." We told him we lived in Harrison, 
and gave hini some names we had picked up, in which 
we must have struck him just right, for at once he 
inquired after the "old men, our fathers," whom he 
said he knew. We told him they Avere in excellent 
health. He said he was glad to hear it for he was well 
acquainted with both of them, " But," he continued, 
looking at us very sternly, "boys, it's'my ^impression 
that you are running away from the conscription and you 
deserve to be shot as traitors for wanting to join the 
d — d Yankees." We told him we had not the slight- 
est intaition of enlisting in the infernal Yankee army, 
which was fast ruining the South and its people. After 
a moment's silence, and looking at us steadily, during 
which time, no doubt, he was mentally debating what 
course to pursue, he said : 

" For air I know you may belong to those spies and 
bridge-burners, and if 1 did not know your folks I would 
send you to Chattanooga, under arrest ; but I will tell 
you what I will do : if you will take the oath and 
promise to go back home and stay until I call for you, 



I will allow you to do so. I have known both your 
fathers for many years and have great respect for 
them. They have always been true men to the South, 
and out of consideration for them I will permit you to 
go back on the conditions I have named. 

Now, there may be those with a nice discrimination 
of conscience who will condemn me and my comrade 
in misfortune — who has long since ceased his struggle 
with the cold charities of the world which brought with 
all its joys many sorrows on the poor fellow's head for 
what we did — and if they do I shall not complain. 
But, dear comrade, or reader, I pray you before you 
lightly pass sentence of ' condemnation, remember that 
".circumstances alter cases." We were spies in citizens' 
clothes, inside the enemy's lines, caught near the camp 
— in one sense, liable to conviction under the rules of 
war, for prowling around the enemy's camp. Besides, 
we had committed a crime for which, if we were dis- 
covered, no mercy would be shown us. The professional 
detective or spy lives a life of constant deception. He 
professes to be what he is not. He practices deception 
to cover his tracks and to gain information, which can- 
not be had in a legitimate manner. Whether great 
exigencies of a public nature justify the practices neces- 
sary to the successful pursuit of such a profession, may 
be a question on which moral philosophers can Avell dis- 
agree, but which I am not competent to discuss. 

But we were in no condition for hair-splitting on 
minor points. Conscience, where the moral perception 
are to be consulted, and conscience, where a fellow's 
neck is at stake, are two different things. We were 
not professional spies or detectives, although^ for the 



time being and for the good of the cause in which we 
enlisted, we were to all intents and purposes practicing 
the arts of a spy. Our game had been a desperate one 
from the start. The players on the other side were as 
\ desperate as we were. The stakes on our part were to 
save our necks from the halter — from the death of 

I We had told a plausible story to this officer, by which 
we had so completely deceived him that he proposed to 
let us go, conditionally. lie had named the conditions 
and for us to have rejected them would have refuted 
the statements we had just made to him, namely, that 
we were Confederates. Besides this, our detention a 
single hour might betray the falsity of our story about 
our living at Harrison. We were liable to be exposed 
any moment by some of the new troopers who were 
constajatly arriving. We had to make our decision, and, 
quickly, too ; hesitation would betray us. Wood and I 
cast hasty glances at each other. K'othing was said, 
but each seemed to read and understand the other's 
thoughts, which ran about to the effect, "it's the best 
thing we can do." We accordingly signified our accept- 
ance of his conditions, and he at once ordered us to fol- 
low him, he leading us back to what proved to be the 
house of a rank old rebel and within a half mile of the 
house we had left the evening before. Here he went 
through the ceremony of what he termed administering 
the oath, after which he, with the aid of the hot-tem- 
pered, forked-tongued old woman of the house, gave us 
the most ilery lecture on the subject of Southern rights 
and Northern wrongs we had ever heard: It was a 
one-sided affair, however, for we listened in silence, 


except now and then to put in a word as a clincher to 
some red-hot assertion they made. After the captain 
and did woman had both exhausted their vocabulary of 
words pretty well, we told the captain that we hoped 
it Would not be long until he would find it convenient 
to call upon us for our services in the cause. He 
seemed much pleased at the favorable effect his eloquent 
harangue had worked upon us and as we hastily shook 
hands with him preparatory to leaving, he handed us 
back our revplvers, which he had previously taken . 
from us. 

This we considered a lucky escape and we started oflP 
in fine spirits after the depressing uncertainty occa- 
sioned by this capture. It was not long until we were 
again in the mountains, where Ave soon after found a 
place of safety where we rested and slept till near night. 
After we awoke we talked over the situation. What 
we desired was to get across the wide, thickly-settled 
valley to the river and find a boat. How to do it and 
evade capture was what concerned us most just now. 
If, by a streak of bad luck, we should again fall into 
the hands of old Snow or his crowd, we would faro 
hard, for we had promised him to take the back track. 
In this state of perplexity we decided to trust ourselves 
in the hands of the man and woman who had treated 
us so kindly and professed so much devotion to the 
Union cause. We knew that if the man was true, as 
he professed to be, that he could render us the assist- 
ance we so much needed. We had reason to believe, 
too, that both he and his wife were just what they pro- 
fessed — truly loyal people to our cause. We knew^ 
however^ that if we ventured near this house that we 

1^ tBKKIKa AID. 

must do it with great caution, otherwise we might b6 
discovered, and thus not only be captured, but con> 
promise our good, kind friends. 

It was, therefore, late on Thursday evening, whei^, 
having left Wood a few paces from the house to keep a 
look-out, I went noiselesslv to the door and knocked. 
The family had retired and the house was still as death. 
I knocked again and again, but finally heard the 
woman tell her husband there was some one at the 
door. So6n the man opened the door and seemed to 
know me at the first glance or by the sound of ray 
voice. He spoke to me kindly and invited me in. 
While he was speaking to me I observed from some 
indications, I could not distinctly see, that his wife stood 
near by to kill me instantly in case any sign of foul 
play had been noticed. Those were times in Tennessee 
and Northern Georgia^ and other places in the South, 
when some shocking tragedies took place. Men were 
hunted and shot down in their own door-yards and 
homes, for their loyalty to the old flag, and these per- 
secuted, hunted people were generally ready for the 
worst and generally defended themselves to the death.. 
In this defense the women often took a ready hand. 
The woman I am now speaking of would have been a 
dangerous one for any rebel to have attacked, if she 
had been given the least warning or had half a chance. 
It need then be no matter of surprise that she held a 
cocked rifle on me as I stood near the door, ready, on 
the least suspicious movement on my part, to have 
dropped me in my tracks. 

I told the man I would like to speak a few words 
with him privately. He stepped a few paces from the 


door so that we were sure no person wa& in nearing 
distance. I theHj in a low tone of voice, asked him if 
he cojLild, of his own free, voluntary will, assist a Union 
man in distress, if he had the opportunity. I then 
paused and watched him intently and at once noticed 
that he was embarrassed. He acted like a man who 
BUspected some trick — as if he thouo;ht I had been sent 
to entrap him for the purpose of betraying his loyalty. 
I was assured by his actions; for had he been a rebel 
atid had wished to entrap me, he would have unhesitat- 
ingly answered, "Yes," and encouraged me to reve^ 
myself. I relieved his embarrassment by sayinjg, 
"There is no trick in this; I am a Union man in deep 
trouble, the nature of which I am not just at liberty to 
mention now. I need a friend and assistance." Bfe 
then answered and said he would render any assistance 
in his power, not only to us but for the Union cause. ' 

Wood had by this time come to where we were and 
I told the stranger to hold up his hand and be sworn, 
which he did, and I administered to him the following 
oath: ^ ' • } !^r«»^5L'^' - ' • 

" You do most solemnly swear in our presence and 
before Almighty God, that you will not betray us to 
our enemies, but that you will do all that lies in your 
power to secrete, aid, protect and defend us.'' 

To all of which he answered, "I will." 

We then shook hands, and after makiug sure that no 
ear could hear us, I revealed to him a part of owr story 
and who we were. He was a brave man and a true 
man, and, hearing our story, seemed to increase liic 
interest and friendship in our behalf. We watched 
this man closely to observe if he took such precautions 



.ii ^. 'f.(C. I. 



as a man would take who honestly desired our safety, 
andvWem gratteedlo see tb^t: Midid;- ;id)0ut tb^.iirst 
thing; he tol<i us that yv^-mnst' x^ minciemmv^ nor be 
seen: abont his Iiqjjsq. H€[ :tQli:U5 to ioiito him,: 
andheled the^way to an .old -abandoRed housi^.wheisi 
he had first lived when he located on the farm, and 
which stood in a secluded spot, remote from the road. 
In the center of the old floor was a trap-door, which 
opened into a hole about four feet square, which, during 
the oocmpanoy of the house, had been used as a sort of 
ceUae. Here we took up our quarters. He then went 
to the house and brought out a bundle of quilts for us 
to fie on; He next told us to avoid talking loud, and 
keep out of sight, in which case we would be perfectly safe 
UBtil he could get an opportunity to pilot us safely out. 
He told ns that no human being would be apprised of our 
wbereafaoats, except iis wife, who was pur friend,, 
atkd would do as much for our safety as hitnsel& He 
than ieft us and went to the house, first telling us that 
he wanld visit us in. the morning, and bring its rations. 
We fixjed ourselves Very comfortably with the qtiilts, 
ttUd^ although our bed-room would not admit ot our 
fitr^ching our limbs out full length, we doubled up and 
e nj oyed a very comfortable night's rest, something we 
had not done before for a long time. 
I The next morning, Friday, we heard our friend not 
far off calling and feeding his pigs, and not long after 
heqoietly lifted off a board over the little cellar, when 
we pat out our heads, shook hands with him, and took a 
sniff of the morning air. He carried a small basket which 
seemed to contain corn, which he passed down to us| 
bat we found our breakfast underneath the corn^ and 


vr -• 


ftfter taking it out we replaced the com and gave him 
hack the basket. He spoke a few enoooragiiig words 
to us, telling us ire must not get restiye but bide our 
time, when he replaced the board, scattered some straw 
over the old floor and left us. 

We had time and opportunity in this dark little den 
to deliberate on the follies of the past and build up 
hopes for the future. Our first and greatest anxiety 
was as to the fate of our comrades, from whom we had 
separated when we all jumped from the train. No oaa 
who has not been similarly situated can realize the aax- 
ions thoughts we had about them. We had lain near 
by and heard the rattle of musl^try, the exultant shouts 
of the pursuers and the baying of the dogs in hot pur- 
suit. It seemed impossible that all should escape. Per- 
ht^ we alone had been so fortunate. But who had 
been the unfortunate ones, and how had they met their 
fate t Perha^ some one more fortunate than the rest 
had by this time reached our comrades in the regiment 
and told them of the collapse of our expedition and 
that some of us were probably refugees in the mount- 
ains and our anxious friends at home would thus get 
some tidings from which to form conjectures as to our 
late. These were some of the thoughts that occupied 
oar minds in the dark, dismal little cellar. But 
thoughts of a still more weighty nature bore heavily 
upon UB. They were of the pr^ent and near future. 4 

While we were talking in a low tone of voice, we 
heard footsteps on the ground and soon after the board 
was lifted and some one spoke to us in a friendly voice. 
We put out our heads, and there stood before us, with 
the basket of corn, not our sworn friend of the night 


before, but his wife, the good, true Union woman, to 
whom only a day or so before we had denied our coun- 
try. It would be impossible for me to describe ray feel- 
ings at that time in the presence of that noble, loyal, 
patriotic woman. I felt that we, men and soldiers as 
we were, had reason to feel humiliation in her presence 
for having doubted her word and her sincere profes- 
sions of loyalty and friendship. 

" I knew," said she, " that you were Union men all 
the time, and I am still ready to make good my prom- 
ise, to not only do all I can for you, but for the Union 
cause." She told us that her husband had gone to 
assist a neighbor about some work and left us in her 
charge, and that she had brought our dinner. She spoke 
a few words of encouragement to us, and praised our 
daring efiFort, as she termed it, to steal the railroad 
away from the rebels, at the same time expressing her 
Boirrow that we had not succeeded, and that the Union 
army oould not before that time have taken possession 
of the country and driven the rebels out. By this time 
we had taken our rations from the basket and replaced 
the com, and she replaced the board over us and scat- 
tered straw about, as her husband had done, and 
left us. 

In this way we remained secreted for several days. 
This delay was for several reasons. In the first place, 
we .were nearly disabled with sore feet from our night 
marches in the mountains. In the next place, we knew 
that the longer the time that elapsed after the raid, 
the less vigilance would be observed by the rebels, who 
would tire of the pursuit. Then, most important of 
aU| we had to wait till our friends could find a suitable 


penbn to oondact us out to the river safely, foi? tta 
nig'hts vrere, at that time, almost 3b light as (.lay. 

A trusty guide was found in the person of tlie brother 
of the loyal woman whose guests we then were. This 
young man, who knew the country well, conducted Od 
by a circuitous night-march to a creek, perhaps the 
Chickamauga or McLarimore's, a tributary of the Teu- 

Our great trouble had been, in this mountainous 
country, to keep the right course. Even if we knev 
the direction we desired to take, it was next to impossU 
ble to follow it by night travel, on account of the un- 
evenness of the country. It was this that made us bo 
anxious to reach the river, which would afford us a sure 
means of night travel, and guide us to a point near the 
Federal army. Unfortunately, when we reached the 
creek, tlie boat was on the opposite side. 

Here our guide took his leave of us, and we set about 
finding a way to secure the boat. I first thought to 
fiwim the creek, which was very high and rnulling 
driftwood. After considering the matter, however, 
Z adopted a better plan. Mark secreted himself, nea? 
the bank below, where I could easily find him. I then 
went to an open space on the bank and halloed. It 
was now daylight, and a man soon answered. I told 
him I wished to cross over, and be soon came and took 
me to the other side. He was unable to change a five- 
dollar Confederate note, and I told him I expected to 
cross back next raomiug, and would try to have the 
change for him, which lie said would do. I then walked 
briskly on the read leading to Harrison, until I came 
to the first turn in the road, when I went into tho 


woods and hid myself until dark. After dark I went 
back and cautiously approached the place Avhcre the 
boat was tied. After satisfying myself that the " coast 
was all clear," I hastily paddled over to the other side, 
took Mark aboard, and we were soon floating toward 
the Tennessee. After encountering some troublesome 
blcjckades of driftwood, and a rebel steamboat or patrol 
gunboat, we arrived safely in the Tennessee River. 

This patrol boat gave us some concern. She lay in 
the mouth of the creek with her " nose " to the shore, 
while her stern lay not far from the opposite bank of 
the narrow stream. When we first saw her lights, we 
supposed it to be a cabin near the banks of the creek, 
and did not discover our mistake until we were right 
up to her, for the night was pitch dark, and it was 
raining. These latter circumstances enabled us, by 
lying down, and quietly steering our boat close under 
the stern of the steam craft, to glide by unnoticed. I 
thought if we only had our crowd of train boys along, 
andjWilson Brown to man the engine, we might easily 
have taken possession of the craft, and givan the rebels 
another big scare, and, perhaps, all of us escape. But 
it might not have been any easier to steal a steamboat 
and get away with it than a railroad train. We drifted 
on^ and in a few moments after, we were happy voy- 
agers in the Tennessee River, going down stream with 
the swift current. 

We felt this to be an achievement much in our favor. 
We had now a decidedly good chance of escape, if we 
observed due caution — at least we thought so. This 
night was one of the worst I ever remember of during 
my army life. Those comrades who have campaigned 

^ ,_ WMtAXmOBT OF TOLD iXD ^KAHf, , . . " 

laf'ES^t'Tenfi^ssee, ^ilj liot need, be told how disagre^ 
ble'.'a cold raiii'storm is there. The iripeasanfi fain wai 
a^!6iSiil|^tiied by a high wind, blinding; our eyes Vtioh 
of 'thfetiiie, "while the d'arli, rapid, 'seething -watetscap- 
ri6d'"dur little boat on with maddening fury. Soffle- 
times we would find oui-selves going round and round 
in a great eddy or swirl, next striliing the point of some 
island, or, nearly knocked from vi.e boat by some low- 
banging tree from a short turn in the river bank, or 
getting a startling thump from some on-cushing log or 
drifting tree. "VVe were in constant apprehension, for 
in the black darkness, we could not see whither wa 
were going, and so benumbed were we with wet and 
cold, tliat we had but little control of the boat, and our 
earg were our only guide for safety. 

When the night was pretty well spent, we begaii t<* 
have a little anxiety as to where daylight would catch 
DB, " We knew we had been making good time, and 
tb'at~ Chattanooga lay not far ahead o£ ug. We also 
kneBf "that it would not do for us to show ours'elvt^ In 
ib&t lo(ia,lity in daylight. We now began to keep a 
litSik-oilt for a safe landing place. After several ineffect- 
ual attempts we found that to land along the steep 
banks, in our benumbed condition, was both difficult and 
dangeroiis. We soon discovered that we were passmg 
what seemed to be a small island. We hugged close 
along the shore until we reached the lower end, and 
a place where the rapid current did not strike our boat, 
aad by the aid of our paddles and the overhanging tree 
branches, we effected a safe landing in the dark, and 
drew our boat up on the bank. We took shelter under 
agreat forked tre^ and wrung the water from ourooata. 

f8, Chilled with sleet ano hah.* 

The storm, by thi^ tjme, had changed to; sl«et «nd 
hail, and it did seem to me that we must perish mth 
cold. , "We beat our benumbed hands and arms about 
our bodies, to try to keep up the circulation of the 
blood, but we were chilled to the bone. I have never, 
not even in the coldest winter of the North, experienced 
BO much suffering from cold as I did on that terrible 
night. Poor Wood, who afterwards died of consump- 
tion, seemed to suffer even more than I did. Never 
did I see the light of day approach with more gratitude 
than on that 'dismal island at the end of that night of 
terror. The sun brought no warmth, but its welcome 
light revealed to us a cabin near the shore, from whose 
stone chimney the smoke w^as curling up. We at once 
decided to go there and warm ourselves, even if we had 
to fight for the privilege, for we might as well perish 
fighting, as with the cold. 

\ We at once launched our boat and crossed from the 
island to the shore. As we landed on the bank to go 
up to the house. Wood, whose teeth were chattering, 
and who looked both drowned and frozen, said to me, 

^ " Alf, you will have to make up some lie to tell thcmj 

. they will ask us a thousand questions." 

*/ I I said, "I don't know what I can tell them; I am 
too cold to speak the truth, though." But I told Mark 
to say but little, so that we need not " cross " one 
another in our story. 

We were admitted to the cabin, and, as I stood be- 
fore the great fire-place, I noticed the family viewing 
our bedraggled, drowned, forlorn appearance with 
some curiosity, especially the man of the house. Af teir 
I jgot jq that I could talk freely^ I inquired il there 




were any boats about there. He said he tnew of noni 
except hJB own, which the Confederates allowed him to 
hare to cross over to the island to his work. He thea 
asked me if we were looking for boats. I told him we 
were, and that we had orders to destpoj' all we found, 
with the exception of a few owned andin charge of 
the right kmd of men, I told him the object, ot coarse, 
was to prevent Union men from running away from 
the conscription. ! 

" I thought that was your business, " said he. " There 
was a lot of soldiers along here a few days ago and de- 
stroyed every boat they could find." 

He asked if we stayed at Chattanooga. I told him 
that our company was there. I further said : " Then 
yon don't know of any boats along here, except your 
own?" He said he did not. After some further talk, 
I asked him if we could get some breakfast with them. 
He said we could. I then told him we were in the con- 
dition of most soldiers — that we had no money, but 
that I did not think it any dishonor for a man in the 
service of his country to asit for food. He said it was 
perfectly right. 

We then took off our coats and hung them up to dry 
a little while we were at breakfast. After we had be- 
come thoroughly \!armecl, and partly dried our clo- 
thing, we took our leave, telling the man to keep an 
eye out for any boats that might possibly be lying 
about loose in his vicinity. 

IrVe now resumed our boat voyage, and did not spend 
much time hunting for strange boats, but availed our- 
selves of the first good opportunity to land and secrete 
diirselres. Our hiding place was in a thicket in a field, 

80 WATOHma oub boat 

near enough whe?e^ btir'bo'ait'^f fiM'''^b that we could 
watch it. The storm had subsided, and duriiij^ the 

afterno6& ^ tte 'sun^ sfion^ 'but "feigKt- and i^&r iii arid' a 
high wind prevailed. J''^' 

' S6inethn¥ bef 6i*e higHt, a inln arid bby^' parsed & 
the field not far from us, and the boy soon got his eyes 
on our canoe and cried out, "There's a canoe, pap!" 
They went down to it, and, from their actions, we saw 
that they were going to take it away. I spoke to Wood 
and told him that it would not do t6 allow them to do 
so, and we walked out of the thicket on the further side « 
from them, and leisurely came down to where they 
were, when I said : 

" Hallo, there ! what are you doing with that boat ? 

" I thought it had drifted here, and I was going to 
take care of it," was the reply. 

" That is a government boat," said I. *' We tied it 
up here awhile ago on account of the high wind." 

I then , apeated the boat story which we had before 
told at our last stopping-place This seemed to be an 
entirely satisfactory explanation to him. 

I then said to Mark, " Do you think the wind will 
admit of our proceeding on our way to Chattanooga?" 

The man spoke up, before Mark could answer, and 
'said, " Men, I would not advise you to venture on the 
river now. It h not safe. You had better go down to 
the house, and wait till the wind falls." 

_ ^ 

This proposition suited us well enough, under tho 
circumstances, so we accepted his invitation, and ac- 
companied him to his cabin. We found his wife a very 
talkative old lady. She sympathized heart and soul, 
flhd saidy with s<ddiers9 for she had a son in the armyi 




who sent word home that he had a pretty nard time 
of it. 

Night came, but the wind still blew a gale. They 
invited us to stay all night with them, but we told 
them that it was absolutely necessary that we should be 
back to camp by the next day, if possible. We had 
learned, in the meantime, that we were only five miles 
above Chattanooga, and we timed our start so as to 
pass there at the most favorable time. 




gpimfng by Chattanooga— A Dangerous Voyage— Through 
Whirlpools and Rapids — Lucky Encounter With a Log — 
Taking On a Pilot— A Terrific Ride — Hailed By Rebel Cav- 
airy — Reconnoitering a Rebel Camp at Bridgeport — A Rebel 
Stampede — Arrival at Stevenson — Fatal Mistake — Cause of 
the Stampede — Captured Within Seven Miles of Mitcheirs 
Lines — A Story that Didn't Win — Sent to Bridgepoi*t Under 
Guard — "These Are the Two Train-Thieves We Have Been 
Looking After so Long.'' 

BOUT midnight the wind went down, and we 
pushed out in our little boat and long before day- 
light we were quietly drifting past Chattanooga, 
that most " ticklish " point. When we had fairly passed 
that dreaded city, we felt that the greatest part of our 
task was over. We began to imagine ourselves almost 
back again among our old comrades of the Twenty-First. 
We felt encouraged and jubilant. We soon found, 
however, that it was not to be all smooth sailing yet. 
Some ten or fifteen miles beloAV the city, the river 
runs through a deep gorge, and narrows doAva to only 
a small proportion of its former width. The mountains 
rise abruptly from the water in frowning grandeur, 
while great rocks, from dizzy heights, project out over 
the rushing, foaming torrent below. To increase tho 



troubles of navigation here, the river malces a sharp 
turn to the left, after a long, straight stFetch, during 
which time the water gathers great velocity of motion, 
and suddenly dashes against the wall of rock at the 
elbow, recoils, and forms a great, rapid, foaming eddy, 
after which it rushes on down the gorge in mad fury, 
as if trying to get revenge for the check it has just 
received. We perceived, even in the darkness, that 
there was danger ahead. The great roar and noise 
caused by the dashing of the angry waters against the 
rocks warned us. We hugged the left bank with our 
little boat as closely as possible. As we passed the 
angry whirlpool, into which we seemed to be drifting, 
our boat was struck a tremendous blow by a floating 
log. We thought we were all dashed to pieces. The 
Wow hoisted us away, however, several yards to the 
left, and we went flying down the gorge like the windL 
We were afterwards told that a number of adventiQ^ 
ous persons had, at different times, lost their liwp iff 
trjring to run down this place, by getting swampeA iff 
tids great torrent, or whirlpool, and it was, no doubt^ 
owing to the blow received by the floating lo^, by 
which our ly)at was knocked just beyond the readk of 
danger, that we escaped as fortunately as we did. It 
was a providential blow for us, although it came well 
nigh crushing our boat. Wc pulled at our paddles 
with might and main to keep the water from swamp- 
ing our boat, which sank pretty low in the current and 
was now going at railroad speed. We soon reached 
smoother water, and again felt ourselves safe. 

It was now getting light, and, as we drifted on, wa 
law a man on shore motioning with all his xmght for 


118 to approach him. As there seemed to be something 
uniisuai about his actions, we pulled in a little, when 
he hailed us and said if we went on as we were then 
going, we would be drowned in spite of fate. He said, 
"You are strangers in these parts, ain't you?" We 
told him we had never been down the river before, 
although quite familiar With the country. He then 
said, " Strangers, whatever you do, don't try to run 
down through the ^suck.' I have lived here all my 
life, and have kno^vn men who were well acquainted 
with the river, to be drowned there. It is much worse 
than the place you have just passed." 

We tried to persuade him to go with us and pilot us 
down, but he said he was not well. At last, however, 
with much urging and the promise of three dollars, he 
consented to go. We rowed to the shore, and, after 
providing himself with an extra paddle, he came aboard 
jand took charge of our craft, whith we ran as close to 
the left shore as possible. The water ran with such 
great velocity and force that we found it almost impos- 
sible to control the boat, although we all had paddles, 
and were pulling as if for life. Our new pilot under- 
stood his business well and knew how to man a boat. 

At the place where we apprehended most danger, 
the river runs through a narrow gorge. The whole vol- 
ume of water, thus circumscribed, draws right to the 
center of the channel. After a ride which I never 
wish to repeat, we passed in safety, with no further mis- 
hap than getting our boat nearly full of water, which 
we soon bailed out. Our pilot now gave us careful 
directions as to the course we should take in the river 
below, after which we dismissed him, first paying him 


■ thi^e flbilftrs, "wiiiDh we Mt had been a good invest- 
m^t,'as We ivould fiave dbubtleas been drowned, bat 
for tfle ao(fideflfcirfact of Bieeticg' this man. Tiough 
■ it had be^ our practice to travel only in the night, yet 
"we had been compelled, through the difficulty of naT- 
igating this part of the river, to travel in daylight, 
which was imprudent, as we were constantly reminded- 

I may state just here a fact, which is well known to 
ail men, who, in time of war, have tried to escape frrai 
prison. The most critical part of a journey is that 
which lies immediately hetween the two contending 
armies. At such places, between the two hostile lines, 
patrols are constantly moving about. Outposts are 
-established on all important roads, while vidette ood 
pidiet posts, in command of the most active and vi^ 
-lant officers, are constajitly on the alert for epie^ sooat^ 
«r prowling bands of cavalirymen from the enen^s camp. 
-Every stray-man is picked up and sent to the <^cer of 
^tiQ guard, who either sends him to the guard-houaG^ 0r 
to th6 General at headquarters, and if the mifortiuiate 
fellbw does not- tell a pretty straight stoiy, or if tiofin 
is anything saspicions about his appearance, he Is pot 
under strict gnard, and, perhaps, ord«ed tried t^ a 
drumhead court martial, charged with being A ^>y. Itis 
the worst [dace in the world to be caught fooling aroand 
■-^;his ground between two hostile armies in canqi A 
' man is almost certain to be captured, unle^ he is weQ 
posted, and, if captured, he must give a very strict 
account of himself. 

As before stated, we found it unsafe to traveS in day- 
tiHbe, and, shortly after dismissing our pilot, we optod 
a si^uad of irebel awalry on the right bank at the mm* 

8$ 4 bmappointmeot; 

Luckily, the river was pretty wide at that place, and wo 
chanced to be well to the far side from them. They 
yelled to us to come ashore, but we pretended not to 
hear them, and acted as if we were intending to land 
l^snrely oa tlie far side. "We were too far away for 
convenient musket range, and did not fear them much, 
^but the circumstance caused us to thinki it best to land 
a few nules below, and secrete both ourselves and the 

\ During the voyage of the following night, or rather 
just before daylight, we passed the Bridgeport railroad 
crossing. We could see the guards on tlie bridge, but 
"^id not know whether they were rebels or Yankees, so 
I this uncertainty we let our boat drift quietly with 
W^ current^ and passed by unnoticed. We supposed 
cdnfidently that General Mitchell had occupied Bridge- 
port. So after we had passed below the bridge, out of 
sight, we landed, and Mark remained with the boat 
while I stole up to the camp to find out what kind of 
sojijiers were there. It did not take me long, however, 
to discover that they wore butternut uniforms, and I 
hurried back to the canoe. Mark's disappointment 
knew no bounds. I could scarcely convince him that I 
told the truth. 

k^ About sunrise we stopped and hid our canoe, and 
feeling somewhat hungry, and also anxious to learn 
spsaething ^bout the Federals, we concluded to skulk 
off a short distance, and see what we could find. It 
was not long until we found a cabin, where we got 
breakfast and learned that the Yankees were at Ste- 
venson, or a short distance the other side. Soon 
after leaving this cabin we met a squad of soldiers in 


full retreat. They told us that wo liad better bo 
" lighting out : '' that the roads and wootis were " alive 
with the d— d Yankee cavalry. They arc in Stevenson 
and pushing on this way in heavy force." We ex- 
pressed 801UC little apprehension, but went on a little 
further, when we met more rebel militia, who told as 
the same story. It seemed as if there was a regular 
stampede among them. 

"We now became pretty well convinced that if we 
could get safely to Stevenson we would be all right. 
So we went back to our canoe and rowed down the 
river again, until we thought we were about opposite 
the town, which is about four mdes north from the 
river. Then we tied up the canoe and struck out 
through the woods for the town. Just before reaching , 
the plac?, we had to cross a creek, after which we 
ascended a very long, steep hill. When we had reached ■ 
the top of this hill, we were somewhat surprised to 
find ourselves right in the town, but not half so much 
astonished as wc were to find no blue-coats there, but 
the streets swarming with rebel soldiers. We had been 
wofully deceived by the stories of the frightened fugi- 
tives we had met in the forenoon, and had unwarily 
entrapped ourselves. 

Wood proposed that we should start and run, but I saw 
that course would not answer, so we determined to put 
on a bold front, and take our chances, though we knew 
we ran great risk. We met and spoke ivith a number 
of soldiers. Some of the officers noticed us carelessly, . 
while others paid no attention to us as we passed them. 
We went into a store and bought some tobacco, and 
inquired for some other trifling things, and then started. 


:..:"■' ^;.. y^'- ^ ■.:.■} iu./ ■./:.^r. v:..!^ r">.-\> y}'^..: .:.;:-.^^ ,••:• 
off asoincDnoftriledly as tfewe^wcre a .©oUiiejof constrv 
fellowsj accustomed to 'tisiting th(^ town." ^e. baa 
gone some little disfcaiiiCe, when/vrew^re met-by ah offi- 
cer; who stopped "US/ and said that he would have to 
inquire oui* business there/ and who we were. These 
were pointed questions, but we knew it would be neces- 
sary to meet them. We told him who we were and all 
about it, and he appeared well satisfied with our 
answers and Avas about to dismiss us, when, unfortu- 
nately for uSj another man, 1 think a citizen, came up, 
and, pointing at me, said : 

*'That is one of the d— -d rascals that was here last 
night. He rode through the town, cutting all the 
flourishes he knew how. I know him. He dare not 
deny it, either." 

In explanation of this man's singular, unexpected, 
and to us fatal accusatiofj, I will'say that I afterwards 
learned that ia squad of daring troopers, froni the Fourth 
Ohio Cavalry, had, on the- previous; . n%ht,. made 
a reckless dash into^the places cuti3ng and eiashing on 
all sides, stampeding the whole^townj and ruipingvout 
the few rebel cavalry stationecl^;1iiere,whO' supposed 
that General Mitchell's whole column-was upon them. 
After doing this the troopers galloped out again, and 
left the bewildered rebels as much surprised because of 
their leaving, as they had by their unexpected coming. 
This also Explains the stories told us by the flying fugi- 
tives, who had, by their silly fright, beguiled us into 
the rebel camp. 

As soon as we were thus detained, I directed all my 
attention to destroying the map in -my possession, by 
tearing it in pieces in my pockety dropping portions of 


it, wnenever opportuoity offered, and chewing up much 
of it, until I finally succeeded, without detection, in dis- 
posing of the whole of it. Had this map been discov- 
ered in my possession, it would have been stmng evi- 
dence against us, and it was, therefore, a great relief, 
when the last vestige of it had disappeared. 

This man's story ended all hope of our getting away, 
and Avc were prisoners a second time. No sooner was 
attention once directed to us than we were surrounded, 
and scores of fellows saw in our appearance something 
suspicious. We told the most plausible story we could 
invent, but it was of no use. They now searched us, 
and found our revolvers, which was evidence against us, 
but, fortunately, found nothing more calculated to 
reveal our true characters. It made but little difference, 
however, in the end, for they were in a high state of 
excitement at that time, and in spite of our protesta- 
tions of innocence, we were bundled off under guard, 
put on a hand-car and run up to Bridgeport, where the 
commanding officer was stationed. 

We reached Bridgeport soon after dark, and there we 
were again stripped and searched. Boots, hats, coat^, 
socks and every under-garment underwent the strictest 
scrutiny. They could find nothing, and were about on 
a stand as to what judgment to pass on our cases, 
when fate again turned against us by interposing a cir- 
cumstance which ended all hope in our favor. An 
excited fellow, who came and stuck his head in among 
the gaping crowd, who were staring at us, declared, in 
a loud voice, that we belonged to Andrews' spies and 

All eyes were turned on him instantly, mj own 


"J . 


among them. Of course, he felt bound to back up the 
assertion, although I believe he lied, at least such were 
my feelings. The spirit of resentment rose up within 
me, until I could have killed him without compunction, 
if I had possessed the power, for in the next breath he 
said, " I know those fellows ! I saw them on the train !" 
The commanding officer stared at us with a look of 
exultant surprise, and said, "I'll bet any money, by 
G — d, that these are the two men we have been look- 
ing after so long. These are two of the villains that 
have not been captured.'' 

I ^ 


Strongly Guarded— General Leadbetter at Bridgeport— Red-Hot 
Interview with the Scoundrel — A Blustering Braggart and an 
Arrant Coward — Separate Examination of 'Wood and Myself — 
Taken back to Chattanooga — Parting Words with Leadbetter — 
"flie Hole '• — Dungeon and Chains — Old Swims, the Jailer — ^A 
Horrible, Loathsome Pit, Crowded with Miserable, Helpl 
Human Beings— Loaded with Chains. 

" Oh t how I wished for epear or swor 
At least to die amidst the horde, 
And perish— if it must be so— • 
At Day, destroying many a foe/* 

E wete at once taken to the guard-house, and a 
strong guard, with loaded muskets and fixed bay- 
onets, encircled us during the entire night, at 
least fifty soldiers performing that duty. With their 
noise, we could get but little sleep, and escape was 
wholly out of the question, although we kept a vigilant 
watch for such an opportunity. 

In all probability they had telegraphed to General 
Leadbetter, that night, who was at Chattanooga, for he 
was at Bridgeport the next morning, and our first ac- 
quaintance with that official took place while we were 
cooking our rations, some raw pork, at a fire, near the 
guard-house. While thus engaged, he came up to us, 
and seemed anxious to gratify a fiendish sort of curi- 



osity, and satisfy himself, on actual view, that we were 
the right men. He took ofif our hats and carefully 
examined our complexions. He at once pronounced us 
Yankees. He said we had been accustomed to wear- 
ing the little, round regulation caps in the Federal 
army. Said he, " These fellows are a d — d good prize. 
The last one of them shall be hung, too." . ^ 

Ho told us that Andrews, the leader of the gang, was 
to be hung that day, and, probably, would get his just 
deserts before we reached Chattanooga. He talketj in 
this threatening, brow-beating style, no doubt, with the 
expectation of intimidating or scaring us into making 
some admissions that could be used as evidence. When 
he found that this sort of bombast made no impression 
on us, he changed tactics a little, and, after quite a, 
pause, said, " Well, boys, whether you are the men or 
not, it was a d — d bold stroka I suppose old Mitchell 
picked and culled over the.whole Yankee army to find 
the most reckless, hardened men he could." Then he 
again said, " I'll be d — d if I don't hang the last one of 

I said to him, " Hang and be d — d ; but I will tell you 
one thing to remember. If j^ou ever do come across one 
of Mitchell's men, and hang him, look out that sooner or 
later your own neck don't pay the penalty ; because, '* 
I continued, " this hanging business will be quite com- 
mon about the time the rebellion closes up." 

He looked as though he had half a mind to out me 
down with his sword, on the spot, but said not a word. 
He soon after walked away, and we could hear him 
giving directions to the officer of the guard to observe 
the greatest caution, '^ for/' ssud he, ^^ those f ellawA are 

■■' • --. -^ ■% 

. . . .,. iSX »:: -^ e^ .C" >^'4^;w.. — 


.-.-./:. 1. 

hard customers, and will take advantage of the least 
Oj^porUtttity.juli'm'etl-to treakia Tbey are afrai(i;<rf. 

nptbing^ nor will ti^ey, hesitate any risk, no mat-: 
ter koYf great/' The officer told- him; that ,w*e would, 
not get away alive, as lie had an eye on us ail the time. 

We ate our rations without further molestation, after 
which we were again placed in the guard-house, and it 
was not long until my companion, Mark Wood, was 
taken out and put through a long, searching ordeal of 
cross-questioning, until he perspired like a man in a 
July harvest. The examination was conducted in an 
open space in front of the guard-house and surrounded 
by hundreds of soldiers and eager listeners. What 
Wood told them, or how well he made his story appear, 
I do not know, but without doubt the poor fellow was 
entrapped and confused. 

My .-thoughts ajid feelings during the time while I 
w;aft atwaiting my turn to undergo their thorough cross- 
qu^tioning, can better be imagined than described. I 
saw plainly that we were fairly in their clutches — that 
there w^ no use of hoping further. After all our hard- 
ships, and after getting back to within seven miles of 
General Mitchell's picket-posts, to bo picked up and con- 
fronted with these spy charges, supported by some 
damning circumstances against us — enough at least to 
lead to our final detection — was enough to drive any 
one to thoughts of desperation. 

As Wood came in he whispered to me and said, "No 
use to deny it; they've found out by some means." I 
was at once ordered out, and now confronted by 
General Leadbetter, some idea of whose character may 
be gleaned from Farson Brownlow's Book, ^He wm 


nothing more nor less than a contemptible drunken 
bully, a profane, blustering braggart , and withal a most 
arrant coward. 

He asked me if I knew anything about Andrews or 
the party that had been with him. I had determined to 
admit nothing — to deny everything, and to avoid say- 
ing anytliing which might possibly conflict with what 
Wood might have said — ^^in fact, I meant to say but 
little. When, therefore, I denied any knowledge of 
Andrews' party, he looked at me as though 'he would 
look clear through me, then burst out in a towering 
passion, and said : 

" Will you stand up here and tell such a d — d lie as 
that? you infernal scoundrel — you abominable Yankee 
vagabond ! Now speak tlie truth, sir ! " 

I had been looking him straight in the eye from the 
moment he began speaking to me. I now felt that 
degree of reckless desperation that I had never felt 
before, which was intensified by his stinging insult and 
overbearing manner. He had addressed me as if I had 
been a slave or a cowardly menial. Though I was 
perfectly self -con trolled, 1 felt the hot blood coursing to 
my brain, and my hair seemed to be rising on end. I 
was in a frame of mind to do anything. Thoughts of 
murder flashed through my brain. I took my eyes 
from the old rebel villain for an instant, and cast a 
hasty glance around for a club or something, with 
which I intended instantly to brain him. I called on 
his men to throw mo a club — anything, with which I 
could teach their "d — d, sand-lapping, son-of-a-b — brig- 
adier, how to speak to a gentleman, and, also to give 
tiim a chance to practice sword-exercise at the same 

Wi ABE KNOtV^K. 95^ 

time.*' K'o more opprobirious epithet, or dii^ of greatet* 
indigntty can be applied to a person in the South tKau 
that of " sand-lappor." I did not deign to spe^k'to 
him^ but addressed his men, and I heaped every oppro- 
brious epithet on his head that I could think of. He 
was an overbearing, mean officer, and I believe his men 
would have rejoiced, and willingly have helped me to 
something to have ended liis miserable life if they had 
dared to do so. He saw that I was bent on mischief, 
for he kept liis eyes on me some moments, and then 
spoke out and said : 

"Men, don't j'ou take your e3^es off of that man or 
he will go through the Ayhole d — d mess of you. He's 
a hard case." 

The next time he spoke to me he had changed his 
tone very much, and addressed me as one man ordinar- 
ily should another. He took a paper from his pocket 
and read our names, "John A. Wilson and Mark 
Wood," and asked me if I knew either of them. I said 
I did not. 

He pretended to be astonished, and said, "It is a 
strange thing that you do not know them. I will tell 
you who they are. Mark Wood is in the guard-tent 
yonder, and John A. Wilson is standing before me. 
You need not deny it any more. We have men who 
saw you on the train, and would know you any place. 
Yoar comtade has had to acknowledge it and so will 

" Well," I said, " you can have it as you d — d please. 
I am a prisoner, and you have the power, and I see you 
have also the disposition, to convict me, whether inno-, 
cent or guilty." 

■ A 



-^'I'wkksent yfe^ to tte" g^ dfS ifi^ 

stay there ' long: The traiti ihttt' ^vas t6^- take! ii^ ;% 
Chattatiooga soon arrived, to whixih' welvet^e cond'ubted 
liiideria: stroiTg'gtiard • atid \yWh dooii bn oiir ^fa/M6fc 
to Chattanboga. The very thought of that place 
oppressed me. I dreaded to go back there. I knew it 
meant evil to us. \ could-'have willingly jumped from 
the train, even had I known that my life would have 
been sacrificed ; but on we sped, our thoughts filled 
with the most gloomy apprehensions for the future. 

It was not long after we started, that Greneral Lead- 
better came into the car in which Wood and I w^ere 
seated. B[is bearing was much modified toward Us. 
In a very gentlemanly manner he requested Wood, who 
was in the same scat with me, to take another seat, 
as he wished to have a rational talk with me, if I bad 
no objection. I r'eplied that I wm perfectly wiUihg to 
talk with him, and that the mantiei^ 6t the ^fiVerssttio^ 
would depend much oil himself; He- took- th^se«it 
Wood had vacated, and began talking vet'jjj? pieasantly,^ 
We had quite a long con vej?sation to regai'd' to' vMio^ 
matters. ■ ' ■ •■ ■■"■■■■■(■ '-■ ■ sr^^?..^:- ^r-.^^^ .^-<- 

During the conversation I noticed that he was 
adroitly trying to lead me into admissions that would 
have been inconsistent with my former statements, or 
that would have been damaging evidence against us. 
But I carefully avoided being led into any such admis- 
sions, or in making any statement that would betray 
our true characters. 

When the train arrived at Chattanooga, he arose and 
shook hands with us, and regretted our unfortunate 
situation — "for," «iaid he, "whatever, may be your. 


crime, you are brave men, and you engaged in a job 
that but few men would care to attempt. Had you 
been a day sooner, you would have succeeded." 

I perceived the drift of this, and told him in sub- 
stance, that if we had been of the raiding party, we 
might possibly feel complimented by his remarks, and 
that I hoped his sympathy for our unfortunate situa- 
tion would go so far as to cause him to see that we had 
a fair trial, and were not convicted if innocent. 

In a few moments we were marched to prison, sur- 
rounded by armed guards, and here our sorrows and 
hardships began in earnest. The guard conducted us 
to a room, where we were handcuffed and chained 
together with a large chain, each end of which was 
fastened about our necks. We were then conducted to 
another room, in the center of which was a trap-door, 
fastened down with bolts and locks. An old white- 
haired man, with a hard, withered-looking face, and a 
treble-sounding voice, was jailer. He was a hardened 
old wretch, who loved whisky and despised " Yankees," 
as he called all Northern people. His name was Swims. 
He moved about in a bustling, shuffling gait, as though 
he were making a great effort to be in a hurry. He 
drew from his pocket a large key, and getting down on 
his knees, applied it to the great rusty locks on the 
trap-door. The fastenings were soon released, and with 
great effort he lifted the heavy door on its hinges, while 
an attendant brought a long ladder, which was run 
down the hole, and we were ordered to descend. 

As we stepped forward to obey the command, I 
caught a breath of the horrible stench and foul, hot 
air, which came up through that revolting hole. I 




involuntarily stepped back. I never had smelled so 
loathsome and sickening a stench before, and despair* 
ingly looked around to see if there was no other alterna- 
tive. The threatening bayonets of the guard reminded 
us that there was no choice left. We sullenly crawled 
down as well as our chain would admit. Down, down 
we went into that suffocating, dark dungeon. Sepul- 
chral voices and specter-lilvc forms admonished us that 
others had gone down before us, but it was not until 
we had reached the foot of the ladder that we found 
that the stinking, loathsome pit was crowded with mis- 
erable human beings, smothering and gasping for 

It was with difficulty we could get a place to stand. 
As soon as we were off the ladder it was taken up and 
the trap-door shut down, when it was so dark that we 
could not see anything. After considerable crowding 
and squeezing, we found standing room. We could not 
see to tell who or what our companions in misery were, 
but soon heard familiar voices, and we had said but a 
word or so, when some one spoke out and feaid : 

" My God, that is Wilson and Wood I Good Heav-^ 
ens ! they have got every one of us ! " 

The poor fellows crowded around us, and such a 
babel and confusion of talk it would be hard to describe. 
The party had all been captured for some time, except 
ourselves, and they had believed' and hoped that we had 
made good our escape. They told us that Andrews, 
our leader, was then on trial for his life^ and that there 
was no doubt of his conviction and execution, while tho 
prospect for the rest of us was not a whit better. They 
all seemed resigned to their fate, smd were even anx*, 



ions for the day to come ojid relieve them from the 
torments of this, vile dungeon. Death, they said, would 
be a welcome relief. 

This den was thirteen feet square and thirteen feet 
deep. There were two small holes in the sides, one of 
which had been nearly choked up by the earth caving 
in against it, and both were so obstructed by iron bars 
that but little air could get through — barely enough to 
keep the wretched inmates from smothering to death. 

• - • 

It • 


■\j...l s^ '■:. 

. .! ■ 

.J- ■ - . V ■•■ - i 

.■J . ^•■^ ^ .. 11 

• I 

./ •«. 

jCHAt»TER Vm. 

Horror upon Horrors— Torture and Torment well-nigh Unendur. 
able^tioathsome Corn-bread and Rotten Meat — Odors Most Foul 
— Edttors,. yermin and Darkness — Parallel with the Black Hole 
of Calcutta— A Very Hell on Earth— The Boom of Mitchell's 
Cannon— A Night of Anxiety — Sad Disappointment— Off to 
Atlanta— A Soldier's Life — A Bloodthii-sty Mob Clamoring for 
our Lives— Landed in Better Quarters at Madison— Visited by a 
Union Spy — The Spy's Narrow Escape— Back to our Chatta- 
nooga Prison — The Heroic Lad, Jacob Parrott, Brutally 
Whipped on the Naked Back. 

" As I lay on the damp, cold gronnA,- 
1 felt A Bbudder o'er pie creej>, i . . / 

To know that I was weak, and bound 
A captive there. I kneW not why • - 

The blood was frozen in my veins ; 
TboQ know'st I do not fear to die« 

And YCt I trembled in' ray chains.*' - ' 

;N this loathsome dungeon every man of our etitire 
party, twenty-two in all, was incarcerated, includ- 
ing Porter and Hawkins, who, it will be remem- 
bered, were left at Marietta on the morning of the raid. 
They also had been subsequently captured, and here we 
were all together. Besides our party, there were also 
twelve or fifteen other prisoners, most of them East Ten- 
nessee Union men, and one negro, who had been in. there 
seven months and had five months more to staj\ The 
charge against him, as I understood at the time, was 
that of trying to escape from bondage^' and, when 

TEfiHra BT THE inLLIOX. 101 

arrested, refusing to tell where he belonged. He wag 
■ taken out occasionally and mercilessly whipped and 
beaten to force him to divulge. We felt much sympa- 
thy for the poor, friendless creature, wlio was known 
by the name of Aleck, for he not only bore his tor- 
ments without complaint, but tried in every way to 
comfort and encourage his fellow prisoners in their dis- 
tress. • He ministered to our wants cheerfully, in eveiy 
way that lay in his power, and proved himself an invai- 
uable friend and assistant. When thetimeof hissentencti 
should expire, he was to be put up at auction and sold 
into bondage again. 

To aggravate our torments and make our lives more 
intolerable, we were being literally eaten up by vermin— 
lice. There were both bed-bugs and fleas, but they 
were as nothing compared with the lice which swarmetl 
over our bodies, night and day, by millions. We wera 
band-cuffed and chained in pairs, so that it was impos- 
sible to strip off our clothing and temporarily rid our- 
selves of them, even if there had been sufficient light 
to have done so. We could scrape up a handful of 
sand from the floor, and carry it to the sickly ray of 
light shed in between the bars at the window, and it 
would be alive with lice. 
I have heard of the *" Black Hole " of Calcutta, 

•Tbe BUcIc Hole. > mlUur; doQieoD In Fort WIUlRm, CnlCDtta, India, IB noted 
tot bdng ths Keo< of one at tba moat tragical eY«Dta Id Enfllih hlitor;. Hr. 
Btiwcll, ontot Che nuvivon ol tlie bortible tXalr, gires (lie f<dlowing account or U: 
■'OnthecapComof CalcnlU bj Sonjah Dowlali. Jane 90, 17£6, tlia British gtrtCson, 
CDUlifinc ol one hnndred and lortj-eii men, under the comuund ot lit. Holwell, 
were taken piiioneri and locked np tor the night In the common dnageon of the ' 
lottrtH, a •Crongtf-barred kmid, eighteen feet aqoaie, and never Intended roc dia 
ment of more than two or three men at a time. There were on); tiro 
HI, both opening toward the weat, nbeLce, under the beat of clmimBtancea, 
U* air could enter, A few mootenta luOced to Ibiow ttaem Into pronua 


where the semi-barbarians of India suffocated a band 
of English prisoners to death, but I cannot beli©v^.tbleu^' 
sufferings^ niuch surpassed the hellish torni^nts infliiJted- 
upon us by these chivalrous, high-toned aristocrats^ of , 
Southern civilisation. If old Leadbett^r is alive yet> h^- 
deserves the fate of Wirz. If he is dead, and there is a 
hell and endless torture, there is little necessity for 
such an abode if he has escaped the torments of the 
damned. He was a heartless, inhuman devil, callous to 
all instincts of humanity, deaf to the appeals of brave 
men gasping and begging for that which God made 
free to all — the breath of life. 

Many of the men had raw sores on them, caused by 
these myriads of vermin. We had no blankets to sleep 
on, and most of the men had become ragged and nearly 
naked in thfeir night wanderings through the brush in 

perspiration, the natnrsil consequence of wkich w^ )9t raging tliirst. Thsy stripped ^ 
off their clothes to gain more room, sat down on the floor that the air miglit 
circulate more freely, and, when every expedient failed, sdught by the bitterest 
insults to provoke the guards to fire on them. One of the soldiers stationed in the 
verandah, was offered one thousand rupees to have them removed to a larger roqmV 
He went away^ but returned saying it was im'pos^sible. The bribe was Uieii doubled, 
and he made a second attempt with like result; the nabob was asleep and no one. 
durst wake him. By 9 o^clock several had died, and many more were delirious. A 
frantic cry for water now became general, and one of the guards, more compassion- 
ate than his fellows, caused some to be brought to the bars, where Mr. Holwell and 
two or three others received it in their hats, and passed it on to the men behind. 
In their impatience to secure it nearly all was spilt, and the little they drank 
seemed only to increase their thirst Self-control was soon lost, those in remote 
parts of the room struggled to reach the window, and a fearful tumult ensued, in 
which the weakest were trampled or pressed to death. They raved, fought, prayed, 
blasphemed, and many then fell esd&austed on the floor, where suffocation put au 
end to their torments. The Indian soldiers, meanwhile, crowded around tho 
windows, and even brought lights that they might entertain themselves with the 
dreadful spectacle. The odor which filled the dungeon became more deadly every 
moment, and about 11 o^clock the prisoners began to drop off fast At length, at 9 
o'clock in the morning, Surajah Bowlah awoke, and ordered the door to be opened. 
Of the one hundred and f orty-8is, only twenty'tbree rexoained alive, and they w^ 
either stapefied or raviqg.*^ 




trying to escapa However, we had but little need of 
dothing in this suffocating dungeon, as the weather 
was getting very hot, and this, with the diflBculty of 
free breathing, kept us almost in a constant state of 
perspiration. The fetid air and the stifling heat also 
caused us to be tormented with great thirst. We could 
not all find sleeping room at one time — that is, to lie 
down and sleep. When the cool part of the night 
came, and we were overcome with weariness, some 
would recline against the walls, while others would sit 
up and lean against their comrade next to them, and 
still others, more fortunate than the rest, would find 
a spot large enough to curl up and lie down, only to be 
trodden on, perhaps, by some poor fellows groping 
about in the dark for water to quench their thirst. 
Sometimes these unintentional accidents would cause 
sharp contentions in the night, for our miserable con- 
dition did not render our tempers the sweetest in the 

My wrists had become so swollen above and below 
the iron bands that the iron had sunk into thei 
flesh almost out of sight. In this painful condition, I 
had a comrade take my handkerchief and tie my 
elbows as closely together as possible, and day after day 
Would I rest my bound arms, first over one shoulder 
and then over the other. This relieved the pain and 
swelling some, although it made me almost helpless, 
and it did seem as though the lice would devour me 
alive, swarming, as they did, over every portion of my 
body. Our condition was most pitiable — it was simply 

-But it was useless to complain. _ Our sufferings were 

104 "old swims." 

regarded* by the officers with unfeeling, heartless indif- 
ference, even to insult. My defiant language to Lead- 
better and the Bridgeport officers had, I suppose, made 
me the object of the special hatred of Leadbetter, who, 
I think, purposely put this peedless infliction on me by 
instruction to the officer in charge. 

, Each morning, about nine o'clock usually, old Swims, 
the jailei^, would raise the trap and call out, "men, 
here's your feed," which he lowered to us in a buckeft- 
attached to a rope. In the same manner our scanty 
supply of water was lowered to us.^ Our " feed " was 
a meager supply of corn-bread and half -rotten boiled 
bacon. This was given us twice a day. It required a 
pretty good stomach and appetite to swallow it, for not 
unfrequently we would find dead maggots in the stink- 
ing, unsavory mess. We were generally hungry 
enough, however, to eat anything we could get, good 
or bad. In the matter of rations, I suppose we fared 
no worse than Federal prisoners at Anderson ville and 
other places, perhaps not as bad, yet we found it barely 
sufficient to sustain life. 

Some of our party had some Confederate money left, 
and occasionally, as long as it lasted, they would hire 
old Swims to buy bread for us. The old rascal would 
sometimes take the money^ and, after waiting a day or 
so^and hearing nothing of it, we would ask him about 
it, when he would tell us he had lost it. The probable 
truth was that he had used it to buy a few drams with. 
But we were at his mercy, and had to treat him with 
great civility and take his statements for facts, whether 
we believed them or not. No person, who has not 
been a prisoner, can form any correct conception of our^ 


Utter degradation and suffering, while shut up m this 
vile place. 

Ourious visitors, who came to look down the trap- 
hole at us, spared no pains to show their contempt for 
" Old Abe's abolition dogs," as they called us. They 
regarded us as a crowd of reckless desperadoes, sent out 
on a mission of destruction and carnage. Occasionally 
some wordy disputes and arguments would spring up, 
for some of our crowd were pretty " tonguey," and gen- 
erally gave as good as they received, and could call a» 
hard names as their rebel visitors could. Seldom was 
the trap opened that there were not curious visitors, 
who would peer dcjwn, and generally they had some- 
thing to say to us. We remained in this place of tor- 
ment several weeks after Wood and I arrived ; I do not 
know exactly how long, but it did seem to us, from all 
indications, that we were to be kept there until death 
relieved us. 

At length, one afternoon, there was a great commo- 
tion and running to and fro, and galloping of horses 
outside, and very soon the trap was opened and the 
ladder thrust down, when We were ordered to crawl 
out, which command, it is needless to say, we obeyed 
as hurriedly as our helpless condition would allow. We 
were headed for the depot, where, several weeks before, 
we had voluntarily assembled, a free, hopeful and unfet- 
tered band, to take a ride on that same railroad. 

Some of the poor fellows were so weak, and had been 
80 long deprived of the free use of their limbs, that they 
could scarcely walk. We were all so blinded by the 
light that it was comical to see our bedazed, staggering 
efforts to walk. We must have appeared like a crowd 



of tipsy nien,^which furnished sport for the rebel guards, 
and gave them an excuse to abuse us roundly and 
threaten us with their bayonets. After we had been 
out awhile, our eyes became partially accustomed to 
the strong light, and we got along better. 

We now learned what was "up." The Federal 
forces had appeared on the hills across the river, oppo- 
site the town, and already the boom of Mitchell's can- 
non could be heard reverberating down the river and 
among the hills. All was confusion and chaos. The 
conductor on the train on which we were to go, had 
evidently taken fright ; at any rate, he had pulled out 
ahead of time, and was already beyond the reach of 
Mitchell's guns. We were only too glad that the train 
had left, though we made no outward show of our feel- 
ings. We hoped that General Mitchell would push 
across the river and capture the town and thus re- 
lease us. 

We were returned to the dungeon for the night. 
That was a night of the greatest anxiety to us, as it 
was to the rebels of the city. Mitchell could easily have 
captured the place, had he only known its weakness. 
The rebels had but a small force, and were prepared to 
leave on short notice. We could hear the Federal shells 
bursting promiscuously about, and we were certain 
that early next morning we should hear the Federal 
skirmish line at work in the suburbs of the town. 
What joyful music that would have been to our ears. 

But, alas, our great expectations were disappointed. 
The morning came, but no clash of arms or sound of 
battle greeted our ears. Bright and early we were 
again taken to the depot^ and this time the train was 



thwft. . We vainly cast wisbful eyes in the difection of 
the far bank of the river, but no rescuing friends were 
in sight, and our hopes sunk as low as our expectatiaos 
had been high on the previous night. 

Such is the life of a soldier — ^ever subject to the 
caprices of fickle fortune — to-day rejoicing, to-morrow 
sorrowing — to-day feasting, to-morrow starving — to-day 
shouting pseans of victory with his rejoicing comrades — 
to-morrow on the gallows, in the prison, or filling a 
soldier's grave. And such is the rapidity with which 
these extremes of fortune follow in time of war, that 
one almost grows bewildered in his anxiety to keep 
pace with them. 

As the train rolled on, we soon came to the scene of 
our former fearful ride. I'could looli from the cars and 
see the same brush where Mark and I so successfully 
secreted ourselves, and when I thougbt of the long, 
hard, fruitless struggle we had to escape, and how 
nearly we had reached our friends and safety, and then 
realized our present condition — in misery and eliains, 
like, felons, with tlie gallows' doom pentling over us, 
my heart and hope almost sunk within me. 

But man is a singular compound after all. No 
despair is so black but that hope will qnickly alternate, 
if we allow the mind free scope. A merciful Gud has 
BO created us. He has implanted large hope in the 
human breast. Man hopes, in this uncertain life, to 
the laat, and when bereft of all hope with which he 
olings to this world, he still hopes for a blessed Immor- 
tAlity beyond. I have seen this forcibly illustrated 
with one of my beloved comrades — a professed disbe- 
liever, yet a brave man — standing on the brink of the 

108 AiraiBTT TO iir k rASkiiB. 

(I^k sIior& of etefnit" an^ of "tf^f^ta t sfiall speftl 
hereafter in m\ narratne J?oor felloiV though he 
had often denied it when his last hOuV hiid come — 
wheD an worl(lJ\ hope n d& giitie — ^fae, too, had hope of 
rmmortal iy 

As we weot whirimg past bndges and parts of the 
road where we had, over a month before, wrought so 
miich mischief, many were the quiet, jocular remarks 
made by some of our party. It seemed to have been 
kaown in advance, that the Yankee train-thieves atid 
spies were going through to Atlanta. At any rate, at 
nearly every town there would be a crowd assembled 
to peer ia on ns through the windows. Northern peo- 
ple can scarcely believe how much curiosity the South- 
ern people had to see a Yankee, more especially a 
Yankee soldier. The old soldiers will all remember 
this well. Some of the Southerners actually seemed to 
feel a superstitious belief about the Yankees. They 
imagined them to be some dreadful ogres or incarnate 
devils, who would steal a " nigger" as quick as a hafrk 
would a chicken — who would barn houses, ravish 
women and steal gold watches, but wouldn't fight. 

The fact of our coming into their midst and stealing 
a train had rather enhanced this belief, and we were, 
from appearances, regarded by these people as the very 
incarnation of Yankee vandalism. Soldiers, citizens 
and women, all, seemed poss^sed of this itching curi- 
osity to see a veritable Yankee ; bnt I have no doubt 
that many of them saw more Yankees than they cared 
to before the end of the Eebellien. What appeared 
to ine cowardly and out of place on the part of soldiers 
and men io citiien's dress, was their habit of plying tiff 


wjt^. insulting ^itbetsf u^d tauntingly reniinding U3 
tJmt bur oecks.weFi^ sure of the halter. IV'e ansvver^^ 
tneni, not surer ikm theirs — that General Mitchell had^^. cro^vd with him, ^hd that thev would ffet heart- 
ily sick of rope performances before the ganie was 

Groups of ladies would come to the windows and 
gaze, at us with absolute trembling, as if we were fero- 
cious wild beasts. Some of these would express com- 
passion for our having to be loaded with heavy chains 
while there was a strong military guard over us at the 
same time. We could overhear some of them talking. 
One would say " Why, some of them are smart, civil- 
looking fellows. It is a shame to treat them so. What 
if old Mitchell should get some of our men V^ As a 
general thing, most of our crowd said but little, except 
when asked civil ^-questions, which we as civilly 
answered. At Big. Shanty, where we stole the train, 
there.wxis a big. crowds-- niore soldiers than citizens. 
They were ^pretty lierce, and would have done us vio- 
lence but forJbhe guards. 

Our fle$tination seenied to be Atlanta, or some place 
beyond, where jail room and a place of safety could be 
found. When we arrived at Atlanta the train stopped 
for sonae time, and the longer we were there the larger 
the crowd became. They swarmed in hundreds about 
the car we were in, to get a <?limpse of us. This, it 
will be remembered,. was in lbG2, and before Sherman 
and his bummers had made the citizens of Atlanta so 
familiar with the appearance of Federal soldiers. The 
company of rebel guards, who had us in charge, 
were deployed. about .the car to J^eep the crowd back aa 


-v ...L 

much as possible. Part of the great throng exhibited a 
dispositioli -to mob^ the ^ prisaff^r-s, and- tvere leiid and 
demonstrative^ i^ their' threats. The poor, o6wardly 
sand-lappefffe and ;olay-eat^S finally got so violent arid 
uticontrollable,' that the city pro Vost-guards had to be 
brought to the assistance of the train-guards, to keep 
the howling mob from taking us from the cars and 
hanging us to the lamp posts. Their insulting screeches 
and clamor for vengeance could be heard from all sides. 
How I should like to have seen the old Twenty-First 
Kegiment, under the command of the intrepid Colonel 
Arnold McMahan, turned loose by companies on that 
blood-thirsty, cqwardly mob, who would insult and do 
violence to a few half-starved men loaded down with 
chains and shackles. This crudely-told incident is not 
a very strong support to the theory of the chivalrous 
valor and honor once so vauntingly claimed by the 
slaveholding aristocracy of the South. , 

I was very much relieved when the whistle sounded, 
and the train pulled out for Madison, Georgia,, for I 
have no doubt that had we been detained fifteen minutes 
longer, we would have been dragged from the cars and 
hung, or cut to pieces, or beaten to death in the streets, 
so crazy and excited had these infuriated demons 
become. I was glad to leave them — that I am certain of. 

Next morning we reached Madison, which w^as a 
neat, prettily-situated town, although the effects of war 
were visible in the deserted appearance of the streets, 
where no men were to be seen, except a few soldiers ou 
leave of absence, or cripples, and occasionally an old 
man. On our march to the jail, groups of women and 
ehiidreu thronged the ^idewaJks to ^taxe at uSi 

A FEDBBAL aP?. Ill' 

We found the jail here a paradise, compared with 
onr late dea at Chattanooga. We liad plenty of room, 
light, and, best of all, we had plenty of fresh air to 
breathe, and a fair supply of very tolerable rations. 
We would have been more comfortable if our chains 
and irons had been taken off, but, as it was, we 
recruited rapidly, aud soon felt like men again, all of 
which blessings we appreciated, and were as devoutly 
thankful for as ever mortal men conld be. 

While we were here, many visitors came to see us. 
Among these, one day, an intelligent man came in, 
dressed in a neat Confederate uniform, and whom I 
noticed speaking hurriedly in a low tone of voice to 
Andrews. We did not suspect anything at the time, 
and from the decidedly rebel views he expressed to us, 
we took the officer for a rabid aecesh, but after he had 
been gone some little time, Andrews privately commu: 
nicat«d to us the fact that he was acquainted with the 
man, and the additional fact, surprising to u^, that he 
was none other than a Federal spy, in the service of the 
United States. We trembled at the audacious daring 
of the fellow, and were wondering whether it could be 
possible that he was in fact, as Andrews said, a Union 
man running his neck into the very halter. We were 
inclined to doubt the correctness of the story, until a 
little later, the sergeant of the guard, who came in to 
bring our supper, told us that a reiaarkable thing had 
happened that afternoon. 

The sergeant said the commandant of the town had 
learned, by some means, that one of Lincoln's spies had 
been among the visitors at the prison during the after- 
nooQ, and had at once put officers on the bunt for him 

112 THB spy's ESCAPE. 

to cause his arrest. The spy was found at the depot^ 
just as the cars were coming in. He became very in- 
dignant because of his arrest and told them, with great 
emphasis, that he had papers in his pocket that would 
prove his character anywhere. The oflScer of the guard 
was taken aback somewhat at this information, and 
released his hold on the stranger, but asked him to pro- 
duce the papers. The spy thereupon thrust his hand 
in his pocket and began fumbling about, as though try- 
ing to find them. By this time the train had started, 
and the hind coach was just passing where they stood 
at a pretty good rate of speed, when he sprang from 
the guard like a tiger and got aboard the train. There 
was no telegraph office at the station and he made good 
his escape. 

This caused the rebel commandant to forbid any 
more visiting ; but we felt consolation in the hope that 
the spy would report our condition to the United States 
authorities and some efforts would be made to secure 
our relea^. Whether the spy ever reached the Union 
lines I do not know* 

After a stay of several days at the Madison jail, aa 
order came one day for our immediate return to Chat- 
tanooga, and the good time we were having was sud- 
denly brought to a close. General Mitchell, though he 
had badly frightened the citizens and rebel soldiers, had 
not taken the town. We were hurried back and incar- 
cerated in the same old prison we had been in before. 
Two circumstances, however, after our return, did 
much to relieve the misery of this prison The captain 
of the guard allowed a portion of our party to remain 
in the room above the pit« which was our first quarters. 


This was a great relief, at least to some of us, anu made 
more room for the others below. We had, also, with 
the assistance of a case-knife, which one of our men 
had secured, contrived implements by which we could 
nnlock our shackles, and we were thus enabled to 
relieve ourselves of this discomfort, except at times 
when we expected the jailer in, when we would replace 
them, as otherwise, had they found out what was going 
on, they would have brought in a blacksmith and put 
them on to aiay, besides cramming us all down into the 
"hole" again. 

They must have regarded us as very desperate, dan- 
gerous men, from the extraordinary precautions they 
took. Even when we were all down in the hole, wliere 
there was no chance to escape, they would always bring 
a strong guard into the room befoi-e they would lift the 
trapdoor, and now that we were in the upper room, a 
guard was kept on the outside of the fence around the 
prison, also one on the stairs'which led to the second 
story, and when the jailer entered from bis room in 
front of oui-s, a strong guard, with fixed bayonets, ready 
for instant use, was at his back. This extra precaution 
on their part only disclosed the fact that they had some 
serious reasons, serious to us at least, for guarding us 
60 closely, and the further fact that tliey were afraid of 
us, even with our chains on, all of which did not in the 
least deter us, however, from laying plans to escape. 
To quiet us and as if to allay our apprehensions, and 
thus prevent any efforts on our part to regain our lib- 
erty, our guards talked encouragingly about our being 
exchanged like other prisoners. 

Unfortunately, some of our men were begiiiied by 


this seductive talk, and by it, a premeditated effort to 
escape, which at least promised success, was thwarted. 
To those of us who looked the matter squarely in the 
face, there was, in the very nature of the rebels' course 
of treatment of our party, something that boded evil 
and forbade the thought or hope of an exchange, as in 
the case of ordinary prisoners of war. First, we were 
not sent into camp with other Union prisoners they 
held. Again, we discovered when we were all together 
and compared notes, that every means had been resorted 
to by our incensed captors to extort and obtain admis- 
sions and confessions from us, which could be used as 
evidence on which to support charges for our convic- 
tion. Of course, they must put us through the form^ 
at least, of a trial and sustain their charges by some 
kind of testimony, by which our execution would have 
the appearance of justification under the rules of civ- 
ilized warfare, otherwise the Federals would be justified 
before the world, in swift and terrible retaliation. 

The rebels had shown an especial desire to find out 
who was the leader of our band, and also the engineer — 
the man who ran the locomotive to death in our 
great race. Those two men they seemed to regard as 
the head and front of the offense — ^the men whose lives 
were first to be sacrificed on the altar of rebel vengeance. 
But, I am proud to be able to say, that not a man of 
that faithful band was base enough to betray his com- 
rades, although poor Jacob Parrott, of the Thirty-Third 
Ohio, the youngest of the party, and who had a boy- 
ish appearance, was stripped naked by the inhuman 
devils who captured him near Kinggold the same day 
we left the engine^ and four men held him stretched 



. : haad and foot on a lar^e rock, while others held reypl- 
.vers to his head, threatening him with instant death if 
he made the least effort at resistance. Having thus 
placed him, a rebel lieutenant scored and gashed his 
naked back with a heavv raw-hide to make hinfi confess, 
and more especially to tell the names of the leader and 
engineer. Thrice was he released and asked to confess, 

■ and thrice put to the tortui'e because he refused, until 
his inhuman captors had sickened and tired of the 
inhuman spectacle before them, for, although they had 
whipped him until his back was one mass of bloody 
welts, and bruised, quivering, lacerated flesh, still did 
the heroic lad refuse to open his lips and disclose a 
word that might betray his comrades. He suffered 
untold agonies from this merciless lashing. His back 
became a mass of sores, and w^ith the hard floor to lie 
on,; and no covering, it was no wonder that his affliction 
nearly cost him his life. This undaunted hero is living 
at Kenton, . Ohio, and. still carries the scars of that 

. teixibte deed. 



Planning to'Kscape — Lured by False Hopes — Night Fixed upon 
for the Attempt — Twelve of the Train-Thieves Sent to Knox- 
villefor Trial — Escape Postponed — Andrews' Death-AVarrant 
— A Solemn Occasion — Preparations to Break Jail — Andrews, 
the Spy, and John WoUam Escape — The Guards Aroused — 
The Pursuit — Andrews' Wanderings and Terrible Sufferings 
— Three Days Almost Naked — Recaptured on an Island in 
the River — Bruised, Bleeding and Tom, He is Brought Back 
to the Prison More Dead than Alive. 

"Fly, Flcance, fly! thou miyst escape.*' 

imS course of the rebel authorities towards our 
band had a significance — a meaning, which to me, 
and, in fact, to most of us, was not pleasant to 
think of. It forbade the thought — yea, the possibility — 
of our being exchanged. Andrews, our leader, with a 
noble magnanimity and the courage of a lion, had 
admitted to them that he was the leader of the party, 
and, as before noted, had been out and had a trial, or 
what purported to be such, before a court-martial, the 
findings and sentence of which had not yet been made 
known, and he had been returned to the prison with us 
to await the result. 

Meantime we had carefully canvassed our chances of 
escape. There were two plans, and only two, in which 
the chances of success looked fairly reasonable, and 
* even in these the odds were as five to one against us. 
Still, they offered a possibility, and, to men in our des- 
perate situatioui no rigk was too great 


One of these plans was that we should all have onr 
irons off in the evening when the jailer and guards came 
up to bring our supper, and as soon as the door was 
opened, make a grand rush on the leveled bayonetSj dis- 
arm the guards, rush down on the guards below, and 
disarm them ; then, taking the arras thus secured, we 
could have marched in a solid body to the ferry-boat, 
which lay on our side of the river, cross over, destroy 
the boat or disable her, and escape to the mountains, 
where no ordinary squad of mounted troopers could 
have captured «9. 

The other plan, proposed by Andrews, the most 
feasible, and the one finally agreed upon, avji?, that one 
of car number should, as we came in from our breath- 
ing spell in the yard — which, by order of Colonel Clai- 
borne, Provost Marshal, we had been allowed part of 
the time since our return to this prison, and for which, 
and other acts of humanity, he was removed from his 
position by Leadbetter ^ conceal himself under the 
jailer's bed, in the room in front of us, and then, after 
everything was quiet at night, steal out, noiselessly un- 
lodc the door, after which we could all come out, go 
stealthily down stairs in a body, surprise and disarm 
the guard,' and then proceed to the boat as in the othei' 

All were ansious, if I remember rightly, except two, 
Marion Ross and George D. "Wilson, the latter of Cin- 
cinnati, who thought the proposed attempt premature. 
They relied on the tallx of the officers in charge of us, 
that we would be exchanged — a reliance, based on a 
sandy foundation, as will be seen from a coincidence, 
ffhioh^will be mentioned further along iu my account, 



intuitively the dreadful import of that paper — that it 
was none other than Andrews' death-warrant* Ko one 
ventured to break the dreadful silence, but Andrews 
passed the paper to us. He was perfectly calm, with 
no trembling or perceptible emotion, but as we looked 
tipon the paper and read the words, " amd then and there 
he hanged until he is dead! dead! dead!^^ there was 
not a man of us who did not tremble and show signs 
of keenest anguish. There was not a man of us who 
would not have fought to the death for our brave, gen- 
erous, manly leader. He had, by his noble manhood, 
bravery and kindness, endeared himself to all. His un- 
selfish regard for every one of the party, his cheerful, 
quiet, encouraging manner under the most trying 
ordeals, had caused us .to regard him with the greatest 
confidence and love. 

I The time fixed in the sentence for his execution gave 
him just one week longer to live and in which to pre- 
pare for death. But we had no idea of using all this 
precious time in preparing Andrews for death. It was 
a solemn occasion with us, and all fully realized the 
awful reality that stared us in the face. This did not 
mean simply the execution of our noble leader. It was 
a lorerunner of the fate that awaited every man of us. 
"We now set to work with all the quickened energies 
of desperate men, bent on escaping or dying in the 
attempt. Our plan was soon formed. Our old case- 
knife was called into requisition. The building was of 
brick, lined with heavy plank. Three men stood on 
the floor together and the fourth, with the case-knife, 
made into a saw, stood on their shoulders, and was 
thus enabled to reach the plank ceiling overhead, into 

nBPAiLunir& wo^ esoipA 131 

whiob by petienoe and perseverance wo succeeded in 
sawing a sqaare hole/ large enough to admit a man'a 
body; We bent ourBelves to the task before UB both 
night and day, with a watchman at every window to 
guard against tiie discovery of our operations. The 
noise made by our case-knife saw was effectually 
drowned by stamping, loud talking, yelling, singing, or 
anything to keep up a din, and our singers and noise- 
BLakera were about as weary with the monotony of their 
efforts as the saw-shovers. 

When two of the planks were so nearly cut out that 
they could be speedily finished. *-e filled up the cut so 
that it conld not be noticed easily, and then the fellowa 
below in the " hole," Andrews among them, in the same 
manner, sawed out notches in the plank which held the 
bolts of the trap-door. This was discouragingly slow 
work. The knife-blade would get hot and bend up, 
and the man who worked it would soon get a tired, 
blistered hand ; but a fresh relay was kept ready, and 
when the hand of one became too lame to run the saw, 
he would take his place among the choir of noise-makerg, 
while a fresh man would take the kiyfe. 

Old Swims, the jailer, afterwards said he might have 
known there was some devilment up, the way the d — d 
TankeM were singing hymns. Singing, however, was 
averycommon pastime with us in the evening, although 
our best vocalists had gone to Knoxville. StiU, although 
it seems almost like a dream at this distant day, I think 
we did sing a little longer and louder, on the nights 
referred to by old Swims, just for the little saw's sake. 
WhUe this work was going on, others had twisted old 
Uankets and pieces of carpet into ropes, with which to 


get the men out of the " hole," and by which to aesoend 
on the outside. 

When everything was in readiness, Andrews, who 
was to go first, went up in the loft. The work of 
making a hole out through the brick wall under the 
xoof, was a much more diflScult job than we had 
expected, and proved to be slow work with our case- 
knife. It had to be done, too, without noise. We at 
last succeeded in getting out brick enough to allow a 
man to pass out, just as the grey streaks of dawn began 
to show^in the east. It was nearly daylight. If I 
remember correctly, each man had his boots or shoes 
off, so that we coidd avoid making noise. The blanket 
rope, one end. tied to the rafter, was noiselessly let down 
tJie outside wall. We could see the dim, gray form of 
the sentry, and hear his tread as he paced back and 
forth; It was an anxious moment of suspense, when 
at last, in a whisper, word was passed from one to the 
other in the dark prison, that all was ready. 

-Andrews crept out and swung down, but in some 
manner a loose brick or piece of mortar fell to the 
ground and attracted the notice of the sentry and almost 
instantly we heard the report of a gun. John Wollam, 
who was next behind Andrews, paid no heed to the 
Bliot, but lunged out head over heels. Bang! bang I 
went the muskets and there was loud shouting — 

"Corporal of the guard! Post number — ! Cap* 
tain — Captajn of the guard ! Halt ! Halt ! " 

Bang! bang! bang! until the shots were as thick as 
on a skirmish line in a cavalry fight. 

The man (Eobert Buflfum, I thiok), who was follow- 
ing -Wollam through the hole, halted between two 

side ttnn^ wUift 

»- *>,••* _ --** 

, ..: i? 

^ 1- 


r, i' 



9AJm »AY OF HOPS. 128 

I - 

opinions, xyhether he had better jump down while a 
rebel sentry stood beneath holding a cocked gun with 
fixed bayonet on him, or crawl back into the old prison 
oook-loft and bear the ills he was certain of. He 
crawled back and told us that it was " all up with us." 
"We were all crowded in the loft, waiting for our turn 
to go out and listening to the racket on the outside. 
Within a very few moments, almost no time at all, the 
yard was filled with troops, and by their loud, excited 
talk we learned, to our unspeakable joy, of the escape 
of Andrews and Wollam. 

The rebels, of course, did not at that moment know 
who or how many of their prisoners were out, but we 
in the loft already knew that the excited sentries had 
fired wildly. At all events, neither Andrews nor Wol- 
lam were anywhere to be seen, dead or alive. While 
we felt the keenest disappointment at our failure to get 
out, yet we felt a thousand times repaid for our effort that 
even Andrews had escaped. A heavy load had been 
lifted from our minds. We took new hope. We knew 
that Andrews would put forth superhuman efforts to 
gain the Federal lines, and if he succeeded, we felt 
certain that Chattanooga would, in all human probrx- 
bility, get a visit very shortlv from General MitchelL 
We thought if either of the escaped men reached the 
lines and told our old comrades of our desperate siftua- 
tion, that they would at once demand to be led to our 
rescue. These were some of the faint rays of hope 
that gleamed in upon our anxious minds, and in some 
degree took away the canker of disappointment, some- 
what, perhaps, on the same philosophy that says, " A 
drowning man will catch at a »traw," for, indeed, we 

• « 
» « • 


.•••■■ ; _ •■ .' . . • . '\. . ■ . i'i.' 

were basing our hopes on a veiy slender thread, a<y tli# 
sequel will show. . 

The musket firing and the news of the jail-break and 
escape of prisoners spread through camp and town like 
the wind, and soon the whole population was in a fever 
of. excitement, and all the available man-hunting force, 
dogs included, joined in the pursuit. 

It is hardly necessary for me to tell the reader that 
those of us who had failed to make good our escape, 
were now put down in the hole, loaded with heavy 
irons, and treated with the greatest rigor and severity. 
This would follow, as a matter of course. This we 
expected, and were not disappointed. However, we 
cared nothing for our chains, or the rigor of our treat- 
ment, in our great solicitude for the success of Andrews 
and WoUam. Our anxiety for their safety and success- 
ful flight knew no bounds. Hour after hour we passed 
in sleepless uncertainty and anxious waiting, to catch, 
the first tidings from their pursuers, who were retain-, 
ing from the hunt, and we were overjoyed when we 
heard that the fugitives had baffled all the skill of both 
men and dogs. After two days had passed, and still 
they had not been caught, we began to feel confident. 
But our rejoicing was of short duration. 

As was afterwards learned from Andrews himself, 
he was fired at by the guard as .he scaled the fence out- 
side the iwrison. But he halted not an instant, and ran 
rapidly to the river, disrobing^ himself as he ran. He 
at once plunged into the Tennessee, and swam for the 
opposite side. Before he reached the shore, however, 
the swift current bore him downward, and he became 
eatangled in some driftwood, by which he lost all of 

ft to 


his clothing except his coat, and, possibly, his shirt. 
After reaching the north Bide of the river he climbed 
into a tree, ivhere he remained during the entire day^ 
and from which position he was enabled to see his pur- 
suers, and to witness their desperate efforts to find bim. 

Whes the friendly shades of night again covered the 
earth, he cautiously descended from his refuge, and 
continued his flight in an almost naked and famishing 
condition. Now, be tore out the arms of bis coat, tuid 
with these encased his legs as much as he could, so as 
to afford them some protection against the bmsb and, 
rocks of that mountainous region. Early in the morn- 
ing, as he was going across an open field to another 
tree, for the purpose of shelter during the day, unfortu- 
nately, be was discovered, and at once pmsued. He 
dashed forward with tbe speed of a frightened deer, on, 
OQ through the woods, and again to the river, into 
which be plunged and headed for an island, where ba 
secreted himself among a huge pile of driftwood ai. tbo 
upper end. 

Some time during the course of tbe day, a party cfE 
searchers, with their blood-hounds, made their appear- 
ance, at the sight of which Andrews left bis retreat, 
and made a pai-tial circuit of tbe island, by wading in 
the water sorrounding it, so as to throw the bounds off 
his track. After doubling the lower end of the island 
in thfe manner, he took refuge in a dense thicket, and 
again ascended a tree, whose heavy foliage seamed to 
be an effectual protection from the sight of his^ relent- 
less pursuers, for, after a long search, they abandoned 
further pursuit and returned to the main land. 

Two lads, however, who bad_ come with the party. 

remained behind. In their wanderings on the island, 
by the merest accident in the world, one of them spied 
Andrews through an opening in the dense foliage, and 
' at once gave the alarm, when his pursuers returned, and 
Andrews, seeing that further concealment was at an 
end, quickly descended, ran to the opposite side of the 
island, secured a log, and boldly launched into the 
stream, to make an effort to reach the opposite bank, 
and thus elude his pursuers. Before he reached the 
shore, however, he was intercepted by another party in 
a boat, and was thus completely hemmed in, when he 
abandoned all further effort to escape and surrendered. 

At the prison, we were first startled by a rumor that 
Andrews bad been taken, but were disposed to give 
little credence to it, probably because we did not desire 
to believe it. But, alas ! the rumor was only too true, 
for soon after a strong guard of soldiers, having in 
charge a prisoner, followed by a rabble of citizens, 
approached the prison. It was Andrews! Oh, how 
our hearts and hopes sank down within us beyond the 
power of expression 1 

Header, did you ever lose a near and dear friend, and 
feel that sudden, crushing bereavement, as if ail the 
world had forsaken you, and that a load of sorrow 
was bearing you down without a helping hand to save 
or aid you ? I have seen those dear to me by ties of 
kindred called away never to return. I have seen 
comrades die on the field, and without warning sufll- 
cient to speak a parting farewell. I have seen a com- 
rade, endeared to me by long association and friend- 
ship amid dangers, chained to me and perishing slowly 
day by day — his proud spirit broken by disease and 


' Imnger, until fever's fitful delirium robbed him of the 
sense of pain. All of this have I seen and felt, yet God , 
in His inscrutable ways and infinite mercy, never laid 
upon me the heavy, chastening hand of sorrow and 

* anguish that I felt when I beheld the brutal guards 
bringing in poor, ill-fated Andrews, bound hand and 
foot in heavy chains. I could have prayed that death 
had spared me'those painful moments, the most harrow- 
ing of my life. 

He was the most wretched, pitiable human being I 
evOT saw — a sight which horrified us all, and even drew 
words of compassion from some of the prison-guards. 
His own brother would scarcely have been able to recog- 
nize him. It did not seem possible that the short space 
of three or four days could have wrought'a change so 
startling. As he lay there chained to the floor, naked, 
bloody, bruised and speechless, he seemed more dead 
than alive. He had not eaten a morsel since he left 
us — during which time he had made the most desperate 
struggle for liberty and life. He had swam about 
seven miles in the river in his efforts to keep free of the 
dogs. His feet were literally torn to shreds by running 
over the sharp stones and through the brush. Toward 
the last he left blood at every step. He had torn up 
his coat, all the garment left him, and tied the pieces 
on his feet, but the protection helped the matter but 
little. His back and shoulders were sun-blistered almost 
to the bone, and so completely exhausted and used up 
was he, that he could barely move his limbs after he 
was brought in. His face was pale, haggard and emaci- 
ated. His eyes, which were sunken, gave forth a wild, 
despairing, unnatural light. 

128 'besigned to his patb. 

When we were left alone to ourselves, we di'ew 
around the miserable man and, after he had somewhat 
revived, he told us in that low, calm tone of voice, in 
which he always spoke and which seldom failed to im- , 
press the listener favorably toward the man, the whole 
story of his unfortunate attempt to escape. He told us 
he had but little time to live, and that now, after hav- 
ing made every effort to save his life and to rescue us, 
and failed, he felt reconciled and resigned to his fate. 
He said he was incapable of doing anything more to 
help himself, and only regretted that his death could 
not m some way be instrumental in saving us, his com- 
rades. He counseled us all against the fallacy of hoping 
for an exchange or for any mercy from those into whose 
hands we had fallen. He said his doom foreshadowed 
our own, and entreated us to prepare for the worst, 
and, when the time came, to prove to them that we 
were as brave in confronting an ignominious death for 
our country's sake as we had been fearless in doing ser- 
vice for her. 1 shall never forget the solemnity of that 
distressing period of our imprisonment nor the deep 
impression the. words of our poor comrade and leader 
made on us. Their sad echoings fill my ears now as sen- 
sitively as then — almost eighteen years ago — while my 
utterance chokes and my hand trembles as if that poor, 
miserable, forlorn man was now before me in the dark 
prison, speaking words of encouragement and advice.. 


Gut Brave and Noble Leader— His Impending Doom -<^ All 
Tal^en to Atlanta Again— Last Advice and Gou^i^el from 
Andrews — Arrival at Atlanta — Dying the Death of a Spy — 
The Terribie* Tragedy Consummated— Wollam Recaptiured 
after Three Weeks — Accoimt of liis Adventures — Mark 
Wood's Serious Sickness — The Pinchings of Hunger -i-Arri^il 
of our Twelve Comrsttes fropi Knoxville-r False Hopep.— The 
Old Villain, Thor— A Terrible Blow— Preparing Seve^ of 
our Comrades for the Grallows. 

** What yerse can sing, what prose namtta» 
The t^atcher deede of bloody fftte." 

S I have, since those dark hours, thouglit oyer 
niany of the incidents of our two or three months 
of prison confinement, while Andrews was with 
us, I can see many reasons lor believing that, from the 
first, he was impressed with a belief that he was never 
to return from this expedition. He was not by apy 
means a superstitious man, in the sense that word is 
used, nor was he given to whims, nor did he fear death, 
yet something in his manner, from the first time I held 
any conversation with hin: expressing my concern 
because we were one day late, leads nae to think that 
he was either a fatalist in belief or that some mysteri- 
ous, unknown and unaccountable agency whispered to 
him that he never should return. 
9 (129) 

130 SAD B0MAN02. 

:, He confided to me, and perhaps to several of his com- 
rades, something of his history. He had been a spy, 
or secret service agent, and made several trips into dif- 
ferent parts of the Confederacy, obtaining much useful 
information, and invariably succeeded in accomplishing 
whatever he was sent to do. This was, probably, why 
General Mitchell reposed so much confidence in him as 
to entrust him as the leader of our expedition. He 
told me, too, that this Was to be his last expedition if 
he got out alive — that he should never undertake 
another trip. But, alas, poor fellow, he went once too 

There was, too, a sad romance c^nected with Andrews^ 
fate, which I have not rieverted too, and which was not, 
I think, generally known among our band. He was 
engaged to be married to an amiable, worthy young 
lady of a highly-esteemed Kentucky family. Whether 
she knew of the perilous service he was engaged in, I 
do not know. If she did not, so much heavier must 
have been the blow to her when she heard of his fate. 
That he was chivalrously devoted to her I am certain, 
though it was a subject he seldom alluded to. I am 
certain, too, that could word have reached her of her 
lover's perilous situation, that she, through her kinsmen, 
could have brought strong influences in his favor, 
though whether his life could have been saved, I very 
much doubt. Their marriage day had been fixed, and 
would have taken place a few days previous to the 
reception of his death sentence. I think this melancholy 
end of a happy courtship, and the thought of her 
blighted life, more than anything else, saddened the last 
days of this heroic man. 


, . - ' f ' , " * '. ; ' ■ ' - ■ 

A scaffold had already been erected in Chattanooga 
for the execution of Andrews ; but very early on the 
morning^of the day for his execution, we were all |akeii 
to the depot and put pn the cars for Atlanta, Why 
this change was so suddenly made in the programme I 
have never been able to discover. I have two theories. 
One is, that the mayor and blood-thirsty populace of 
Atlanta, who had come so near mobbing us, desired to 
have Andrews and the rest of our party hung in that 
city, that our blood might, in some manner, appease 
their bitter wrath. I have heard that the mayor form- 
ally made such a request, and have no reason to doubt 
it, from what I subsequently learned. Again, it will bQ 
remembered that Wollam, who broke jail with Andrews, 
was still at large at the time of which I am speaking, 
and for all the rebels knew, he might have arrived 
safely in General Mitchell's lines, and that officer might, 
at any time, make a dash on Chattanooga and save 
Andre vv's' life. It is barely possible, though I think 
hardly probable, under all the circumstances, that this 
last wasj the cause of our sudden removal. We were at 
a loss to know what this move to Atlanta meant, but it 
was not worth our while to ask questions. 

"We were soon whirling along on that same, to us, 
accursed railroad, for it brought no pleasant memories 
to us. At each town we were, as before, treated to a 
deluge of curses, taunts and epithets. Andrews was 
reminded and taunted at every station of his approach 
ing doom. While we were on the cars, Andrews, who 
was not chained to any other prisoner, and who sat in 
the next seat to me, requested me to go into the water 
cxo$et and leave the window up as high as possible. 

18S akdbewb' last fabewell* 

Shortly after. Wood and I, who were chained together, 
went to the closet, and I did my best to open the win- 
dow high enough for a man's body, but the shutter 
W»5 so arranged that it could pot be raised above six 
inches. Andrews received the inforpaation with a look 
of sad. disappointment. It was his last hope. He did 
not expect to escape. He would have thrown himself 
with i4s chains on from the window when the train wsu^ 
in full motion, and it w6uld have saved them all further 
trouble with him. 

On teaching Atlanta, we were conducted to a hall pi 
«eC0nd-s.t6ry room, not far from th^ depot, where we 
kat doW4 on some benches. We had been here hup a 
jBhort time when a body of soldiers, in charge of several 
pfflcers, marched up into the building. One of the ofli- 
oeys, walking up to Andrews, informed him that th© 
hour |or his execution had ipph^e, and ask^ him if ; ]^ 
Va^ ready. Andrews replied that he was/ onjy as! 
the priyUege of bidding his comrade^ farewell* 

" Well, then, be d— ^ quick about jt,'^ was the^iiif^l- 
ing reply, " for we have no titne to fool away herei?*' ; 
' The brave man rose up, and approaching eaclit of lis, 
shook hands and bade us a last farewell. But few of 
thjB men could give utterance to a syllable. After this, 
ihe doomed man turned and walked away with the 
bfficer, and to this day I can hear the clink, clink^ clink 
0f thOfie dreadful chains and clogs as, step by step, he 
descended the stairs. We never saw the noble face dnd 
inanly form of our leader again. 

The reader can better imagine than I can tell, the 
sorrowful, despondent feelings of our little band. We 
did not speak words of sorrow. We did not complain, 



^> ■' 

f . 


nor did we shed tears. We had passed that ; yetj so 
bad did we feel for the departed that the terrible silence 
seemed like a spell kept sacred to his memory « 

Soon after, we \irere ordered down and oondnoted to 
the jail of the city, where we were put in iron cages for 
safe keeping. The guards who came in at ration time 
in the evening, told ns that the tragedy had been con- 
summated ; that Andrews died like a brave man. SQi 
calmness and noble, manly demeanor shamed even tho 
clamorous mob who were spectators. Th(e limb on 
which he was hung was so low that his toes touched 
the ground, and in this way they kept him strangling 
for a long time, until at last some one took a shovd 
and mercifully removed the earth, when he soon aftet 
expired. The murder was complete. •**-"• t^ 

Thus did J. J. Andrews die the ignominious death of 
a spy — as noble, as true, as brave a man as ever lifted 
a hand in defence of our starry flag. He was thirty- 
two years of age, in the prime and vigor of young man- 
hood. She, who now would have been a happy wife 
in the love of such a noble, chivalrous man, was left in 
sorrow and mourning for one whose last moments she 
could not comfort by her presence, and whose last rest- 
ing place she should never know. 

Let me now turn from this sad episode and, with the 
reader's kind indulgence, give an account of John Wol- 
1am, who was last seen by us as he clambered out of 
the hole in the jail-loft at Chattanooga, amid the 
aroused guards. The reader will feel interested to 
know more of the daring fellow, who risked so much 
to get away ; besides, his success or failure would, we 
then supposed, have much to do with our subsequent 



fate. WoUam and Andrews separated instantly on 
clearing the jail inclosure. WoUam soon reached the 
river, and finding no way to cross, hit on the happy 
expedient of making believe that he had crossed. He 
threw off his coat and vest near the water's edge, 
walked into the water and waded up the stream a short 
distance and came out in such a manner as to leave no 
trace. This ruse worked well. The pursuers, coming 
to this place, took up their dogs and changed the hunt 
to the other side of the river. The}'^, of course, failed 
to find him, and WoUam, who was secreted in a dense 
thicket not far away, had the satisfaction of seeing 
them abandon further pursuit. When night came, he 
left his hiding place, passed around the town on 
the same side, and a short distance below found a 
canoe, with which he journeyed down the river by 
night. He would sink the boat by filling it with stones 
just before daybreak, and secrete himself in the brush 
until night came again. 

In this way he worked his w^ay down the Tennessee 
nntil- he was about eighty miles from Chattanooga, 
passing Mitchell^s extemporised gunboat several times. 
This was a little steamer which that enterprising oiBcer 
had captured and fitted up for patrol duty on the Ten- 
nessee above and below his camp. Had it been day- 
light instead T)f niglit that Wollam traveled, he would 
readily have detected the difference, but, as it was, he 
viewed the craft with suspicion and fear and kept out 
of sight, by putting in to shore under cover, as she 
passed. At last, after he had reached a considerable 
distance down, he began to travel in the day time, 
which was a fatal mistake. He was spied by a band of 

w - - - - 

WOLLAjd'fl OAFTUBB, 185 

■J v^-. 

rebd cavalry and capttrred almost within hailiuj? dis- 
tatoce of MifcheliV lilies. He tried to make thetil' 
beliibve kib was a Cotifederate, but a lieutenant of the 
party, who had helped to capture him the first time, 
was present, and recognized WoUam as one of the 
train-stealers, when he was at once sent to Chattanooga 
and soon arrived, in irons, and was again imprisoned 
with us in Atlanta jail, after having had his liberty 
over three weeks. We were much surprised when ha 
returned, for we felt certain that he had reached the Fed- 
eral lines, or, in case he had not, that he was dead. It 
seemed as if fate was against us, and that none of our 
party were destined to reach our friends and make 
known our unfortunate condition. 

But to return. After we had been in the Atlanta 
jail ^a short time, the prison-keeper had our chains and 
han?d-cuflfs taken off, thinking, no doubt, that betv^een 
the iron cages in which we were shut at night, the great 
iron cdoor of the hall and the prison guards, we would 
be fiafe; This was a great relief. No one who has worn 
such incumbrances can realize what a grateful change 
^it made in oixv situation. W.e had worn them sa long 
in couples that we would find ourselves involuntarily, 
at times, following each other about as if still compelled 
to do so with chains. \ 

My chain-mate, Mark Wood, had been very sick with 
fever, the result of severe exposure and the confinement 
and bad treatment in prison. It seemed for a time that 
he would never get up again. We did all we could for 
the poor fellow, whose mind was in a delirium, while 
his body was but a skeleton. After much coaxing and 
pleading on our part, a doctor was sent iui who admia* 


135 MARK WOOD.' 


istered medicine, and after the fever had taken its 
cotirse, I had the satisfaction of seeing him chancre for 
the better. I sometimes thought that, perhaps, we" 
would do but a merciful kindness to let him die of dis- 
ease, and thus, possibly, save him from a worse fate ; 
but Wood seemed nearer to me than any other, not 
. only because we were from the same company and regi- 
ment, but from our association in the trying days and 
liights while we were fugitives in the mountains. He 
seemed to regard me more in the light of a guardian 
and protector, and reUed upon me more than upon him- 
self. This did not «»aake him the most useful comrade 
in a close emergency, for he did not seem to consider 
himself capable of acting without first consulting me. 
Mark was an Englishman by birth, with whom I had 
no acquaintance before our enlistment. Before entering 
the service he lived at Portage, and was in the employ 
of Austin Van Blarcum. He was also in the employ 
of AVilliam AVakefield, of Bowling Green, for some 
time. He was twenty-one years of age, a bright, free, 
thoughtless, roUicking Englishman; good humored, 
impulsive, generous and brave, and had much of the 
spirit ol' adventure in his composition, so characteristic 
oi' i>i.s countrymen. His gratitude toward me, to whom 
lie lutrihuted the saving of his life, never ceased to his 
(lyi;'.^- bivjitli. And, on iiiy part, I may say, perhaps, 
;i, trnthiully of poor unfortunate Mark, that at the 
crii.cul moment wi my life, he came to my rescue, and 
by si)oiiking a word in the nick of time saved me, which 
circumstance will appear further on. 

AVhcn Mark began to get better, the prisoners would 
rally him occasionally by saying to him; 


. "Mai^kj if I were you, I would not try to get well. 
You can, by cjying^.saye the rebels the trouble of hang- 
ing, you. Why not be a little accommodating, since all 
they do for us is done wittiout pay ? " 

This, certainl\% was not much encouragement to a 
sick man, yet Mark would laii'^-!^ a wild, unnatural laugh, 
and say he was going to gc . v ii to spite them. 

We passed the time, some playing checkers or caixls 
if they had them, singing, reading the Scriptures or 
almost anything that we could get to read, in discus-r 
sions and in various ways such as are known to those 
who have been in prison. At best, prison life is a 
dreary, monotonous, tiresome existence. Some circum- 
stances in our case made it especially so. The rations 
we received at this prison were both scanty, and, at 
times, loathsome, and for Wood, our invalid comrade, I 
feared they would cause his death, even after he could 
walk about, for he had a ravenous appetite and would 
devour the scanty allowance of coarse corn-bread, 
ground cob and all, with his bit of spoiled bacon — 
which stunk sometimes beyond the endurance of a well 
man — like a wolf , and scarcely stop to pick out the 
worms that had been boiled with it. 

Sometimes, in the absence of corn-bread, we would 
get a few negro peas, which were boiled with the meat, 
and these peas were infested with little bugs, which, 
with the maggots in the meat, were almost enough to 
convulse the stomach of a hungry dog. I have found, 
by experience, and I think I will be corroborated by all 
the men who have been in rebel prisons and suffered 
the protracted pangs of hunger and starvation, that 
man, when forced to it, is as ravenous, reckless, unrea- 



sonable and brutish in his appetite as the lowest order 
of aniflial creation. In Andersonyille, histqiy. tells ns 
th^t men murdered and robbed tbeir own Qo^rades i|i 
prdar that they might sell their f^\y eifects tp^ p^ 
guards for bread In one of the ^Richmond prisons U 
have heard tell of two brothers, almost craizy from tHe 
psiJigs of hunger, fighting brutally over a miserabl^ 
little mouthful of the flesh of a dog. Hunger know3 
no arbitrary law nor code of honor. 

While time hung thus heavily, we were surprised 
one day to hear that the balance of our party had 
arrived. These were the twelve men who had bee» 
sent to Knoxville for trial, and of whose fate we bad 
since been ignorant. They, with some Tennessee Union- 
ists, had been put in a room in the back part of the jaij 
in which we were imprisoned. The next day two ot 
three of them obtained permission f rom tbQ guard t^ 
come into our room. From them we learned tl|.at JB0V<i^ 
of their number had been tried by court-ipaarti^l, bui^ 
none of them knew what the decision was. . I 

About this time, and before any more could be tv\^ 
events occurred in other quarters that caused the o^iijji!- 
martial to break up and the officers to hurry to tljeiy 
respective commands. I suppose this was caused by 
the capture of Cumberland Gap by General Morgan 
and the threatened invasion of East Tennessee by the 
Federals, or, perhaps, the officers were needed to gQ 
with Bragg on his great raid into Kentucky. 

Our comrades all seemed in good spirits and hopeful 
They had heard of the death of Andrews before they 
left Knoxville. They had also been told by some dt 
the guard that Andrews was the only man intended to 


ie executed, and that the rest of us would simply be 
kept until the war was over. This gave much encour- 
agement to some of our men, but I must confess I was 
not in k frame of mind to build much hope on these 
reports. The admonition of Andrews still rang in my 
ears. There seemed to exist a feeling of fiendish, 
malicious brutality toward us, that was felt and shown 
toward no other prisoners except the East Tennessee 
Union men, whose wrongs and sufferings during the 
war have been so graphically portrayed by Parson 

For instance, our comrades who had just arrived, told 
us that as they reached the depot in Atlanta, they were 
taunted and jeered by the mob, and a man, who said he 
was the mayor, told them he should have the pleasure 
of putting the rope on each of their necks, as he had done 
to their miserable, thieving, spying scoundrel of a 
leader, Andrews. He told them thej' would not be 
troubled with any more railroad rides. Again, the 
jailer, whom I have since visited, when I was free and 
wore the blue, was a humane man, and at first gave us 
liberal rations. He was soon suspected of being too 
friendly with us, and this duty taken out of his hands; 
and an odious, wretched old Yankee-hater, named 
Thor, who was a fit instrument for the business, was 
hired as a spy on the jailer's actions. 

I will here give it as my best impression that Thor, 
the old villain, met his just deserts when Sherman's 
men captured Atlant^. There were six men in that 
vast army of veteran fighters, who had been victims to 
the old miscreant's cruelty and hatred of Yankees. 

This whole matter of doubt and uncertainty was soon 


i»at at rert, for one aftemoon, js^bout 9. week .'after thf 
arri^ of our Knoxville comrades, ^ body of caViStlry, x^ 
oharge of oflkers, filed in and halted in front pf tjia 
^tiL Several of the officers and a strong guard of me^ 
can^e up and halted in front of our room. Our parfy, 
at this time, had arranged so that we had all been 
allowed in a room together during the day. We knew 
then there was something up. Soon the door opened, 
and the officer read off the names of our comrades who 
had been tried at Knoxville. They were as follows : j 
' Samuel Eobinson, John Scott, Perry G. Shadraok^' 
Samuel Slavens, William Campbell, Marion Boss and 
George J). Wilson. i 

Dne of the men, Bobinson, was sick with fever, and 
had to be assisted to his feet and out of the room. Hq 
was abused by the officers shamefully. They Wi^ 
taken to a room near by, occupied by the Tennessetsf 
prison^*s, and the latter were brought over md put 
into our room. There was much excitem^t and speor 
ulation on our part. With bated breath we eftgerly 
inquired of each other what this could all mean. Son^ 
even supposed our comrades had been taken out to be 
paroled or exchanged. 

The room into which they were taken was only sepa- 
rated from ours by a hall, and we could hear the doom 
of the poor fellows pronounced as their death sentences 
were read to them, and they were enjoined to hurry up 
and get ready to accompany the guard to the place of 
execution, as time was precioiA, and they had no 
moments to waste. The whole party at once returned 
to our room, and George D. Wilson, with pale face and 
quivering lip, informed us in a startling whisper, that 

Jkm LED OUT TO BZEOtmoV. 141 

.■•''.." I ' . . . . , 

••''-"■-■. . ■'. . . •- ; 

they were to b^ hung immediately. Even while onir 
doomed boihrade^ were saying their farewells to us^ the 
rebel guards were busily engaged in pinioning their 
ftnns with ropes, preparatory to their journey to the 
scaffold. Their relentless executioners drove them in. 
impatient, brutal haste, eVen refusing them the poor 
boon of saying farewell to some of their comrades 

That terrible moment will never be effaced from the 
tablets of my memory. It is indelibly and vividly 
engraven there. It was a sudden and dreadful blow to 
those poor fellows, who had been lured into the false 
hope of being exchanged or paroled. From the very 
instant the cavalry halted in front of our prison, an un- 
explainable horror had seized upon me. I felt that 
their visit meant no good to us, and when the epauletted 
brute, who had charge of the murderers, came in and 
informed us who;were left in the room, that they would 
attend to the rest ot us very soon, I felt almost like 
thanking him for saying so, for there would be no more 
doubting. We knew exactly what to expect and could 
act accordingly. Then came the choking, hurried fare* 
wells. Oh, what a sad, sad, trying moment that was ! 
It is as vividlv before me now as then, and the last 
farewell of those dear comrades, as they left us, will 
linger and pain me as long as conscigasness remains. 


Fainful Reflections — Brave Bearing of the Doomed Seven «— 
<'Tell Them I Died for My CJountry " — Poor John Scott — 
George Wilson's Dying Speech on the Gallows — A Brutal 
Scene — Rope Breaks with Two — It is Readjusted and the 
Tragedy is Compkite — Seven Murdered Heroes *- Southern 
Barharity — An Aflemoon Never to be Forgotten — Solemn 
Hours in Prison — Sacred to the Memory of Our Ck>mrades — 
A Night of Prayer — Captain David Fry — A Christian Hero 
— A Rebel Minister— Letter Sent to Jeff Davis and its Prob- 
able Result^ 

••Onr bread was such as captives' tears 
Have moistened many a thousand year% 
Since man first pent his fellow men 
Like brutes within an iron den," 

HE blow fell with greater weight upon some of 
the doomed men from the fact they had built such 
strong hopes of a better fate. It will be remem- 
bered as related in a former chapter, that George Wil- 
son and Marion Koss, two of the fated men, now bidding 
us a final farewell, had been so strongly impressed with 
this fallacious belief that they had been partly instru- 
mental in preventing an attempt to escape at Chatta- 
ihx)ga. But, oh I how terribly were they and all of 
our party undeceived, and how truly prophetic and cor- 
rect were the warning words of Andrews ! How much 

better than we did he know the frenzied, blood-thirsty, 



merciless nature of the horde who were waging a wwr 
fop the perpetuity of human slavery. 

The first warning those men had of their doom after 
they were separated from. us was when the officcor 
handed them each a paper containing their death-sen^ 
tence, and before they had time to read the tferrlble 
words the guards were tying their arms with rope9» 
Robinson, who was so sick \v^ith fever that he could aot 
stand on his feet, was cursed and threatened by tb^ 
oflScer, by whose orders he was dragged out- and down 
stairs. * 

The measureless pain and sorrow I felt for the fate 
of those comrades, is to this day mingled with proud 
admiration for their noble, manly fortitude in that try^ 
ing moment. A true man, in the mad excitement of 
strife on the battle-field, can march with his comrades 
to meet death without faltering, but for an innocent 
man to bravely and calmly meet the fate of a murderer 
on the scaffold, is a test of courage for a soldier, which 
few men can realize until commanded to prepare for 
the halter. - It is hard for a man in the full vigor of 
health and the prirde of life to imagine what his feel- 
ings Would be, if called upon suddenly to face an igno- 
ihinious fate at the hands of exultant, heartless execu- 
tioners, and in the presence of a blood-thirsty, jeering 
rabble, and without so much as a half-hour's time to 
arrange his spiritual and temporal affairs ; yet such was 
the lot of our comrades, and they met their fate like 
true soldiers. 

Marion Eoss was the least affected. As he shook 
hands with us, he spoke out in a clear tone of voice and 
said : " Boys, if any of you ever get back, tell them I 


died for my country ; tell them I died like a man and 
did not regret it." Our party seemed to be like the 
majority of young men who entered the army — careless 
of any preparations or thought for the world beyond 
the grave. 

George Wilson, who had one of the brightest minds 
of the party, was a professed disbeliever — an infidel, 
and often I bad heard him argue with William Pitten- 
ger against the truth of the Scriptures while in prison. 
Pittenger, 1 believe, was intending to engage in the 
ministry. In this last, solemn moment, however, Wil- 
son took Pittenger by the hand and said, " I believe you 
are right, Pittenger. Oh, try to prepare for death 
better than I have done. May God bless you — ^farewell.'* 

Slavens, who was a man athletic of stature and Her- 
culean in strength, and would have been a fit soldier for 
the days and army of Frederick the Great, could only 
articulate to his near friend, Buflfum, "Wife — children 
— tell — them — " when his utterance choked, and he 
completely broke down. 

There was one of that fated band whose parting 
farewell is painfully vivid before me to-day — a member 
of my own proud and honored regiment, the Twenty- 
First Ohio — John Scott, as brave, faithful and patriotic 
a son, brother and husband as ever shouldered a mus- 
ket f o: his country. Alas ! little did he think, when 
three days'af ter his marriage to a worthy young lady of 
his native town, he parted from her, of the fate that 
awaited him, and little did that patriotic and loving 
bride dream that the young husband she had surren- 
dered up to his country's call must die the death of a 
martyr on the scaffold I John Scott was from Findlay^ 

tEHOjc sowst'eoorrt,, tiS 

I I 

Ohio, and was one of the best men in onr parly. Ho 
was a good soldier, quiet, determinedj persevering and 
brave. He bore all his deprivations and hardships with 
manly fortitude, and, as he came to each of us for the 
last time, he clasped our hands in silent agony. No 
tears — no words. His noble breast did not throb for 
fear of death, although his executioners stood all about 
him, but for those he loved so dearly, that he was never 
to see again. I have, since the war, visited his family 
and friends in his once happy home, where the memory 
of the noble son .and brother is still cherished and 
mourned ; and which sorrow is shared in by every sur- 
vivor of that little band of men. 
. Our comrades were hauled- from the prison to the 
place of execution in an old wagon. - The scenes that 
transpired there we learned from our guards the 
same evening, or the following day. As near as 
we could get at the facts, as related by them, the 
scaffold was surrounded by about five hundred 
guerrillas, or bush-whacking cavalrymen, who, 
probably, had never been near enougli to the Federal 
lines to smell gunpowder or blood. These rangers, or 
guerrillas, disputed for the honor of becoming the mur- 
derers, and finally twelve were selected by vote. When 
the doomed men were on the scaffold, in the presence 
of that excited, jeering mob, George Wilson, who was 
game to the last and worthy a better fate, asked per- 
mission to say a few words. Out of curiosity, perhaps, 
on their part, he was allowed to speak. ' His words, 
most likely, disappointed them, still they listened, while 
one of those "terrible, thieving, cowardly Yankees'* 
stood up there on that trapdoor of death and in a calni| 




unfaltering voice spofke earnest words ol \visdora 'and 
warning tQ them. His calmness and deliberaljon and 
his; clear voice comnaanded their attention and his words 
seenied tp awe the desperate, blood-thirsty rabble into 
silence. He told them tii at they were doing wrong in 
rebelling against their government — that they had 
been misguided by their leaders and that they would 
soon have cause to regret the course they were taking. 
He earnestly admonished them that the old Union 
would be restored and that the old flag would again 
jBoat over their city. He told them that, although 
condemned as a spy, yet he was not a spy and they 
well knew ft. He was only a soldier performing a duty 
for which he had been detailed. He told them he did 
not fear nor yegret to die, but only regretted the riian- 
aer of his death. 

His words made a deep impression on the crowd. 
Many of them evidently thought that if the Yankee 
army was all of his mind and bravery the probabilities 
were that the Union would be restored and the rebel- 
lion squelched. ^ 

When Wilson ceased speaking the signal was given 
and the trap was sprung. Two of the men, Campbell 
and Slavens, who were very heavy, broke their ropes 
and fell to the ground insensible. When they came to 
a little, they asked for water and also requested a little 
time for prayer. The water was given them, and they 
were allowed to live long enough to see the lifeless bod- 
ies of their comrades placed in coffins, when they were 
peremptorily ordered to reascend the scaffold, when 
the ropes were soon adjusted and the two men again 
laoncbjed off, this time into an unknown eternity. 


Thus were those seven men raurderecl, without warn- 
ing — without a friend to say a last encouraging, sym- 
pathetic word — without a spiritual adviser — yes, 
without the last poor privilege of a little time to offer up 
for themselves an humble petition to the Throne of 
Grace, for a merciful Savior to receive their souls, 
where suffering and sorrow are at an end. It seemed 
as if the heartless fiends sought to murder both body 
and soul. The blackest-hearted criminal is always 
allowed, in civilized nations, the consolation of spiritual 
advice and prayer; but these, our poor, unfortunate 
comrades, who were guilty of no crime other than try- 
ing to serve their country, were sent before their Crea- 
tor without even so much as the privilege accorded a 
common criminal. Yet these same unchristian men — 
rebels — the leaders in the government and society 
who thus brutally treated the soldiers of this great 
government, are to-day seeking place and power in the 
nation they sought to destroy, and in doing which they 
took a fiendish delight in heaping the most inhuman 
tortures that their innate cruelty could devise upon those 
who came to its defense in the hour of its danger. "Waa 
ever a government so merciful and lenient to its ene- 
mies ? I think there is no parallel to it in history, I 
ask the reader's pardon for this digression. 

We learned, also, that the rebel soldiers, after the 
execution, spent the remainder of the day and evening 
in drunken revelry and jollification, because of the 
seven "Yanks" they had had the pleasure of putting 
out of the way, and with a further prospect of soon 
having another hanging-bee for the " Yanks " yet left 
in jail. Tiie reader can well imagine the scene of sor« 


rpw and utter desolation which reigned among us who 
were left in that gloomy prison. 

That afternoon and evening will never be forgotten 
by those of us who were confined within those hated 
walls. We were bowed with a grief too oppressive for 
words. Each one bore the bitterness of those hours in 
close communion with himself. No pen can describe 
the anguish of those moments. All joviality was at an 
end — no word of consolation was uttered — not a gleam 
of hope seemed to illumine those dark and terrible 
hours, as they dragged so slowly along. How long 
that dark pall of gloom surrounded us, with a silence 
that was terrible, I know not. Some one, at last, sug- 
gested prayer, and every member of our remaining 
little batod bowed in compliance with that suggestion. 

That prayer meeting was one of the most solemn and 
impressive ever witnessed. It was led by Captain 
David Fry, an East Tennesseean, who had been brought 
with the twelve of our party from the court-martial at 
Knoxville, and after our seven comrades had been led 
out to execution, he was placed in the room with us. 
For some time those devotional exercises were contin- 
ued, and this good, brave and loyal man proved him- 
self no less worthy as a spiritual adviser, than he was a 
trusty leader against the schemes of rebel foes. 
' Captain Fry, who ever aJtcr stood by us with such 
fortitude that we all learned to love him, belonged to 
a Union regiment in East Tennessee, and was held as 
a spy and bridge-burner — a charge very similar to that 
brought against us — although he was captured when 
fighting bravely at the head ot his column, and covered 
with wounds. He was one; of the best and noblest 


hearted men lever met — a soldier ana a patriot— ^ a 
Christian and a gentleman. His influence had been a 
power in behalf of the Union in East Tennessee. He 
first came to notice by some feats of daring, and, I think, 
is mentioned prominently in the book published by 
Dan. Ellis, the famous Tennessee scout and spy. Cap- 
tain Fry first saw service in the Mexican war, and was 
a man of fine stature and great muscular power — ^brave 
as a lion, yet tender and sympathetic as a child to those 
in need or distress. He organized a company of bis 
Union neighbors, and led them ;through the mountains 
to Kentucl^y. On the assurance of 'help by the Union 
Generals in Kentucky, he consented to make a trip 
back to East Tennessee, for the purpose of destroying 
important lines of railroad communication, and rallying 
the Union men. It was an arduous and dangerous 
undertaking. Had he been promptly helped, as seemed 
possible at that time, he would have saved much of the 
suflfering and persecution endured by the people of that 
State, and given a strong element to the Union cause, 
w^hich was murdered, driven off, or forced into the 
rebel army or prisons. As it was, he was left to his 
fate almost unaided. The rebels concentrated a strong 
armed force, and while Fry was conducting a body of 
Union refugees to Kentucky, he was attacked by a 
superior force, and, after a brave fight, he was wounded 
and captured, and had the daily assurance from his cap- 
tors that he would quit this world at the end of a rop^^ 
an assurance he had no reason to doubt the ultimate 
fulfillment of. He was of inestimable value to our little 
forlorn band, and was a good man in a '^ close emer- 
gency," as will be seen hereafter. 


As has been previously mentioned, only eight of our 
party j^jncluding Andrews, had gone through the form 
of a trialY but at one time during our stay at Chattanooga 
when our tojp^is w.ere quite high, that we should be 
paroled or exchangedJika^^other prisoners, most of the 
men had consented that aiten two or three had been 
tried, the rest would accept tli\e verdict adjudged by 
. the court, and abide the decision riie same as if all had 
been tried. We could see no reasd":^ why there should 
be any diflference in the verdict in ea'&h case, except for 
Andrews, and, possibly Brown, the Engineer, in case 
they found him out. Afterwards thfe looked like a 
trap, into which we had been drawn, whefa we had been 
led to hope for lenient treatment. ^ 

It will be readily observed that we were now in a 
state of doubt and suspense well nigh intolerable. 
Neither could we get any information as ib how or 
when w^e were to be disposed of. We had nO friend, 
no lawyer, no counselor, and from day to day groped 
along in this wearing, trying uncertainty. We Bad not 
been tried, nor had we any reason to believe that they - 
intended to give us a trial, yet, why had they nof exe- 
cuted us with the rest of our comrades, who were gmity 
of no greater or less oflfence than ourselves? W^. 
watched every movement and word that was spoken, r, 
to learn, if possible, what the next step in our cases \ 
would probably be. Of their intention to execute us 
we had no doubt. Thus time dragged on week after 
week. We resorted to every kind of amusement we 
could think of to keep our minds from getting into a 
state of despondency. Card-playing we had banished 
from our midst since the execution of our comradesi 



y -x r \ -^■^ — 


but we played checkers on a board cut on the floor, 
engaged ^n discussions, tallied abgut thewa^, it^ ifiual 
outooin^ its results uppn the country, wb^t would be 
4oue ^ith the rebels, their jjroperty, etc, etc. 

While we were draggipg out this miserable, inonotp- 
?ious existence, providentially or otherwise, a preax)ber 
of the city, named McDonald, a Presbyterian I believe, 
visited us one day. He was a friendly, kind-heartecj 
man, and, I believe, a true Christian, although I notioedi 
when we all kneeled in prayer at his request, after we 
had joined him in singing a hymn, he opened his prayer 
with the singular petition that our lives might be 
spared if it was in accoi'dance tvith the leM interests of 
tlie Cmifederacy. This prayer did not suit us exactly, 
but we felt that this kind man's voice would, in the 
end, have little weight in the scale, for or against our 
lives, so far as the Confederates were concerned, for 
tiJiey were an ungodly set at best. If this good man is 
yet living, he has my best wishes, as being the only 
rebels besides our old jailer, who ever spoke a kind, en- 
couraging word to me during all my imprisonment and 
fugitive wanderings in that slave-cursed land. He 
afterwards loaned us a few books, such as " Bunyan's 
Pilgrim's Progress," "Milton's Paradise Lost," etc., 
which one of our company would read aloud, while the 
rest maintained the best of order. This was a great 
comfort to us and kept our minds from brooding over 
our heavy burden of woe. As each day would fade 
into night, and the long, red rays of the setting sun 
gleam through the prison bars, we would wonder if we 
might ever see its fading glory again. We rememberedi 
constantly that each day might be our last. We iuul 


V J 

■■V- .'V > ■: '- >-:^ i; "'..r vm .■ . » 

almost ceased to even hope to se^ our friends again^ . 
who lived in what our boys caviled "God's country." 
Our thoughts would wander away to them, and many 
atiine a silent tear ihight be seen to course its way 
unbidden down the cheelv of some poor fellow who had 
not spoken for an hour. Our food was so scanty and 
bad as to keep us on the verge of starvation and to 
crush all the spirit and resolution we had. We won- 
dered, as the weeks rolled by, why we were not execu- ~^ 
ted*^ — why they still kept us. 

Finally, we conceived the notion to write to Jeff. 
Davis, himself, the boss traitor and leading spirit of the 
wicked rebellion. We were certain that it could not 
make our condition any worse. Some of our party 
occasionally would sell a vest or some other garment 
to the rebel guards for a little scrip, and in this way we 
could get trifles, such as a bit of tobacco and the like, 
and I suppose it was in this way we procured paper 
and material to write to Davis. Mr. Pittenger, an 
intelligent man in our party, acted as scribe, and a 
respectful letter, setting forth our condition as well as 
we could, was written, sealed, stamped and directed 
properly to the rebel chief, at Eichmond, and through 
a little good management by the negro cook, who took 
the letter to the postoiRce, I have every reason to 
believe it reached its destination. 

We never heard anything from it, but we did hear a 
short time afterward that the Provost Marshal of 
Atlanta got a sharp letter from the rebel Secretary of 
War, wanting to know " why in h — 1 those train-thieves 
had not been executed," evidently having been under 
the impression that we had all been hung long sinceu 



The Provost referred the Secretary to the record of pro- 
ceedings of the Knoxville court-martial. Whether our 
letter had anything to do in the premises we nevet 
knew, but we became aware that there w^as some pretty 
pointed correspondence going on between Colonel Lee, 
the Provost, and the Eichmond authorities, and that 
we had reason to feel deeply concerned, the reader may 
infer, from the fact that we set about taking desperate 
measures to once more try to escapee 

•f ■'y 


./i t- 

/ 1 -^ 


■* ."■''■ 


The Jail at Atlanta— Preparatioas to Break Jail — Expecting 
an Order for Our Execution — We Must Strike a Blow for 
Liberty — The Plan Determined — Busy Preparations — Prayer 
for Deliverance — The Last Desperate Chance — The Critical 
Moment — The Blow is Struck — Fighting the Guards — Away 
We Gk) — Liberty, Once More — The Pursuit. 

••There is a war, a chaos of the mind, 
When all its elemente convulsed— combined— ; . 
Lie dark and jarring with peiturbed force." 

;N order that the reader may more fully understand 

I that which will be detailed hereafter, 1 wjll briefly 

g describe the jail in which we were confiueci! .ThQ 

building, the walls of which were of brick, and very. 

thick, was a pretty large one, enclosed by a high, tight 

board fence, similar to most prisons. In front of the 

jail there was a heavy door or gate that opened 

through the fence into the jail yard, and by which 

ingress and egress to and from the jail was had. This 

gate was usually kept locked; besides, ,a sentry was 

kept on duty, and sometina^ two, at this entranpe. The 

jail, which was two stories high, had several rooms 

below, used for the convenience of the jailer and his 

family. There was a hall that led clear through the 

building, from* the front door to a door which led into 



the back yard. A stairs led up from the right hand 
side of the hall, a few paces from the front door, to a 
similar hall in the second story. On each side of the 
second story hall were two large rooms, and in two of 
these rooms was a stout iron cage, similar to that which 
Barnum used to carry the big rhinoceros in. That they 
were built strong, 1 know from experience, and also 
that there was no chance to get out of a cage unless 
with assistance from the outside. In the rear of these 
cage-rooms, and in the back pant of the building, were 
two rooms without cages. Each of these rooms had 
two windows, strongly barred across with iron. Besides 
the brick walls which surrounded the four sides of every 
room, there was a second wall inside of the brick and 
fastened to it, of oak plank laid one upon the other flat 
and thoroughly spiked through and through. Every 
door was strongly built of heavy iron bars riveted 
together, and hung on massive hinges. From this 
imperfect description of our prison, the reader will see 
that the prospect of our IrecMng out was not the best. 
In vain had we looked and examined and re-examined 
these walls to find a weak spot that promised us the 
least hope for once more gaining our liberty. 

But the evidences were increasing daily that there 
was " something in the wind " that boded no good to 
us. We resolved unanimously — a resolve that may 
seem to the reader on a par with the resolution of the 
convention of mice in the fable, that resolved to put a 
bell on the cat — to get out if — if — we became satis- 
fied that we were to be executed. The negro cooks, also 
the jailer's wife and daughters, were not in sympathy 
leith the rebellion. Neither do I believe the jailer was 

180 . TALK OF ouK Exsourxosr. 

a rebel at heart, yet so closely was he watched that he 
dared not show any friendship toward us. Still, we 
managed to get much information through these 
sources, although it was impossible that they could 
afford us any substantial assistance. 

We communicated with the prisoners in the room 
opposite to us through the stove-pipe, wl^ich entered 
the same chimney from both rooms, the pipe-holes 
being almost exactly opposite. We would take off the 
pipe-elbow and speak through, tube fashion, though we 
had to be careful that we were not overheard. It was 
by this means.that we learned, from some new prisoners 
brought in, of the Emancipation Proclamation of Pres- 
ident Lincoln. This caused great commotion among 
the rebels, and brought down bitter maledictions upon 
the good President Lincoln's head. The negroes, ignorant 
as they were, seemed to take a lively interest in the Proc- 
lamation, and were never so pleased as when they could 
speak to us on the sly about it. 

About this same time, a ''couple of regular army 
soldiers, confined in the next room, which overlooked 
the front yard, overheard Colonel Lee, the Provost, 
telling the officer of the guard that he hourly expected 
an order for the execution, of " those raiders." This 
information was soon made known to us, and only cor- 
roborated other reports that we had heard, and things 
that we Jaad seen. The day following, the wife of a 
pitizen prisoner came in to visit her husband, and she 
told him that it was the general talk in the city that 
the Yankee raiders were to be executed within a day or 
two, and tluit everybody was facing to witness the exe- 
cution. This man sent word to us as soon as he could 


from hi^ room, and further advised us to try to break 
Jail. He did not know that we had already decided to 
do so, for we kept our plans entirely secret. 

After sifting and weighing closely all the information 
we had, it stood about in this way : The rebel Secre- 
tary of War had issued orders to the commander of 
that department that we should be executed without 
further delay, and a little formality — Confederate 
army red tape — was all that now stood between us 
and the scaffold. This would not save our necks long. 
It might be an hour ; it might be as long as a week ; 
but, if we had any hope of getting beyond those prison 
walls, except on a death-cart to the gallows, the blow 
must be. struck at once. Otherwise we might as well 
say our prayers and resign ourselves to our fate. i 

I believe in the efficacy of earnest Christian prayer, 
but prayer in a Confederate prison seemed to have less 
effect than in any place I have ever before or since 
been, and had it not been for the kind preacher who 
visited us in jail, I should feel like giving it as my 
belief that God, in Hjs anger, had stricken that part of 
rebeldom from Heaven's court calender, as unworthy 
of representation in His kingdom of peace, justice and 
good will, and only fit for the fare of Sodom aiid 

We resolved to make the attempt Kb regain our lib- 
erty and save our lives without further delay. Hazard- 
ous and unpromising as was the prospect, it could npt 
result in worse than death, and that was our fate in any 
event within a day or two. Our plan was quickly agreed 
upon. We had talked the matter over hundreds of 
timeB of late. It was not to break the jail^ for tbat^ aa 


is already Known, was an impossibility with our poof 
means in the way of implements. 

We had decided to seize the jailer, Mr. Turner, when 
he came to the door to put in our rations, take the keys 
from him, unlock the doors and let out the prisoners in 
the other rooms, then all descend the s^irs, and divide 
into two squads — one squad to go to the rear door and 
capture the guards, while the other squad should cap- 
ture and disarm the guards at the front door and in 
the yard. This was all to be done as quietly as possi- 
ble. Then, with the muskets so obtained, we might be 
able to march on the double quick out of the city, at 
once scatter to the nearest woods, and make the best 
, disposal of ourselves that circumstances would admit of. 

When it Js remembered that we were in the jail of a 
large city, not a street of which we knew, that soldiers, 
home guards and police could be rallied at a moment's 
warning, and that the whole population, dogs and all, 
would freely turn out to hunt for the train-thieves, and 
the^furth^ fact that we had been so reduced and en- 
feebled by months of confinenaent and hunger, that we 
were but shadows of our former selves, and it will be 
seen that we had no small contract on our hands. But 
experience has taught me that man, in the fix we were, 
is the worst and most desperate creature on earth, and 
will do things that seem utter impossibilities before 
their accomplishment. 

We at once set about preparing ourselves for a jour- 
ney. We mended our old, worn-out clothes as well as 
we could, so that our appearance among strangers 
would not betray us. We cut out old pieces of blanketi 


"' ■ ' ■ > 

an4 made socks to protect our feet from our old, worn, 
hard shoes and boots. We gathered up several hickory 
sticks that we had in prison^ and also some old bottles* 
and such other implements that we could lay hands on, 
to use as weapons in our assault on the guards. The 
time fixed for the assault was in the evening when our 
supper rations were brought in, which was sometinie 
before sunset, and when our movements outside, should 
we succeed, would soon be covered by darkness. The 
routes to be taken after we were out were discussed 
and it was agreed by all that w^e must avoid any of the 
principal roads or ferries of the surrounding country. 

Captain Fry engaged the party in prayer for our 
safe deliverance, and a few moments before ration time 
came, we all shook hands and bid each other good bye, 
many of the men shedding tears, for we knew and felt 
that we should never all meet again in this world. 
Captain Fry shed tears like a child. I can distinctly 
see that noble head, whose locks were sprinkled a little 
with iron gray, as on bended knees, he prayed for our 
deliverance, and ag tremulously he shook our hands at 
the parting. It was decided not to make the attempt 
when the rations were passed in to us, but to wait until 
the door was opened the second time, after we had had 
time to eat, for the purpose of taking out the ration-pan 
or bucket and giving us water. This would make the 
time so much nearer sundown or dark,, which was very 
important to us. 

When the door was opened, we were in our usual 
places, and tried to look as composed as possible, as the 
negro came in and set down our "feed," while the jailer 
held the door and looked in through the bars, ^he door 


160 . . THE CBITtOAL VKiiSXlhi 

wag closed after the negro went out and into tbe other 
rgoms; Had the jailer scrutinized closely, I thinK he 
could have seen that something unusual had, or was 
about to transpire, for a settled look of determination 
and desperate resolve was s^t in every man's eye and 
face, and to me, at least, was plainly visible. Most of 
the men, while pretending to eat their rations, quietly 
hid away a morsel in their pockets for the morrow. 

Each man had his part assigned him, like the players 
in a drama. Captain Fry had the post of honor. To 
him, by common consent, was entrusted the " ticklish " 
job of seizing the jailer at the door, on account of his 
powerful build and great strength. I can scarcely 
remember now the details of the work assigned to each 
man. My own part of the work was with the squad 
that was to tackle the guards in the front yard. We 
prolonged the supper ceremony as long as possible, in 
order to gain time. After some twenty minutes, pier- 
haps, the jailer returned to the do^^^ and putting his ^ 
bunch of keys down to the great loci., it loosened with 
a loud click and came out of the staple, when 'iSx, Tur?- ' 
ner stood on the threshold. '^ 

The critical moment had come. 

We were all watching Captain Fry, for the noble 
man of prayers and tears was a cool-headed, brave sol- 
dier as well. He took his position near the door, and, as 
the jailer stepped in, he placed his hand on his shoulder 
as if to speak privately with him, and, with a smile as 
pleasant as a May morning and the courtly obeisance 
of a cavalier, he threw Mr. Turner entirely off his 
guard as he said : 

" A pleasant evening^ Mr. Turner," and reaching his 


ann around the jailer's neck, continued, " we have conr 
cluded to take a walk-:-/' At this instant he: clapped 
his hand over Turner's mouth, suppressing that man's 
half-uttered call for the guard, and held the surprised 
and struggling jailer as if in a vice. Robert Buffum, 
at the same time, sprang like a cat, and with a single 
surge, wrenched the bunch of keys from the jailer's 
hand. Turner was a stout, wiry man, and struggled 
violently, but Fry held him wath the powerful embrace 
of a " grizzly," while a steady hand over his mouth and 
neck kept him from making any alarm, Fry at the 
same time cautioning him to keep quiet — that he 
Avould not be hurt. 

BuflFum, in the meantime, keys in hand, was slinging 
the doors open right and left, and, in less time than I 
am telling it, all the prisoners who wanted to go were 
marshaled in the hall and readv for a descent on the 
guards below. Luckily for old Thor, he was not about ; 
if he had been, a glass bottle on the head would have 
been his portion. To go to the yard, front and rear, 
was but the work of an instant. 

The guards were thunderstruck, with surprise, and 
were disarmed before thev recovered their senses, ex- 
cept three cowardly sand-lappers, who ran out of the 
gate screaming, "Murder! Corporal of the guard! Cap- 
tain of the guard ! Police ! Murder ! " and other ex- 
clamations of alarm. 

After yelling themselves nearly hoarse, they took 
refuge behind the fence, outside of the gate, and pointed 
their muskets inside. Several of the guards had been 
knocked down and roughly handled. One fellow, more 
combative than some of his comrades^ brought his mus- 



ket to a guard and showed fight, but one of our party 
knocked him cold with a heavy bottle. The cowardly 
yelpers, who had ran to the gate alnd given the alarm, 
had spoiled our arrangementg. for getting away to the 
woods quietly, but I did not realize t'his at'the time, so 
intent was I in performing my part at the front gate. 

I ran to a pile of loose brick, near the corner of the 
jail, and arming myself with these I ran for the fel- 
lows at the gate. They would dodge back when I 
would throw at them. I must have iiurt one of them 
severely, and whether I had any assistance from^ any of 
our party I cannot telL I know I kept calling and 
waiting f pr them to come on, when, suddenly, I heard 
a familiar voice call my name. 

" Alf, come on, quick! the boys are getting over the 
fence at tjie back of the jail; hurry up, for Grod's sake, 
for there's a company of guards coming dpuble quick. 

This was my old comrade, Mark Wopd, and his 
voice was the first warning I had of the fiUtnger that^ 
threatened me, or of the ncQ^s^i?^ change w our pro- 
gramme. . 

" Then bounce that fence," I yelled to Mark, and, 
dropping my brick-bats, I also sprang for the fence, my 
te^t scarcely touching the ground. We both reached 
the top of the high fence at the same instant, and not 
a second too soon, for as I glanced over my shoulder 
from the fence-top, I saw the guards with gleaming 
muskets pouring iu at the gate, and before I could 
throw my leg over and spring oflE, a volley was fired, 
the balls rattling and whizzing all about us. One bullet 
struqk the picket under my thigb^ and so close that the 


• \ 


THS ssoAra 168 

splinters lacerated toy flesh, and as my feet struok the 
ground on the outside, I said to Mark, " I am hit" 

" Get up and run like h — 1, then ! " exclaimed Mark. 

I was on my feet in an instant, not knowing whether 
my thigh was shattered or not. As I ran I clapped my 
hand there to see if it bled freely. I pulled away a lot 
of splinters, and had the satisfaction of finding that I 
had received only a slight flesh wound made by the 
picket splinters. Never did I make better use of my 
legs; there was need of it, too, for the balls were 
spatting about us in the dirt uncomfortably near. They 
came so thick and closelv at one time that I was almost 
certain tliat one or both of us would be hit: but we 
answered tlicir cries of "Halt! halt!" by springing 
forward with all the speed we could command. 

After having run a long distance in our flight, we 
passed BufTum, who had lost his hat in the attack^ 
and, now, bareheaded and with his eyes fairly starting 
out of his head with exertion, the poor fellow looked 
the very picture of a wild man. Wood had fallen 
behind me in, the race, and I could hear Buffum cheer- 
ing and urging him to "pull into it" for dear life. "I 
can't run, but I can stop them I Run, AVood! Keep 
on running, and never let up ! " Thus the brave fellow, 
completely fagged out, encouraged my partner, who 
still felt and showed the effects of his sickness. I was 
far enough ahead so that I had time to select the most 
favorable course for us to take to save distance and find 
the shelter of woods or thickets. 

It was about a mile before we struck the cover of 
woods, and then the trees were so scattering that they 
afforded only a doubtful place for concealment. It wai 

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ELuding Pursuit -^Crossing the Line of Rebel Guards— Physical 

Prostration— Discouraging Journey before Us— Paroxysm of 
Joy — Striking Out for the Gulf — Hungry and Foot-sore — 

Crouching from the Sight of Men — The Intensity of our 

Afflictions — Bitter Reflections — On the Verge of Despair—^ 

We Reach the Chattahooche, and Hope Springs Up Anew-r 

We Find a Boat and are Soon Gliding Down the River 

Gulf wanL 

. '*Stniiise-~thAt where N«taie Icrr'd to trace ^ ' 
Ab If for gods, a dwelling plaee, 
Theie man, enaiqor'd of duitre«^ , . ^, 

fihoiUd mar St into wUdemess/* /',... 

I HE place where we lay was riot over fifteen steps 
from where the infantry sentinel was station^.' 
We could hear every word he spoke to the man 
on the next post. Their comments pn the affair at the 
jail would have been amusmg to us under less serious 
circumstances, and I wish I could give their words 
exactly now, for they were ludicrous enough. In their 
opinion there was no sort of devilment that a " Yank" 
was not an adept in, from stealing a "nigger" or a 
railroad to breaking a jail, murdering peaceful citizens, 
and in various other ways defying the regulations and 
rights of the Southern people. They allowed^that old 
Mitchell bad picked out the off-soourings and most reck- 
less jail-breakers and pick-pockets in his army to send 
out on this thieving business, and that if any of th^ 


raiders were caught there would be no more foolish 
delay about hanging them. 

I- Sometime late in the evening, while we were still 
lying under the bush, we became aware that some one 
was approaching us very quietly. In the dark we 
could recognize the dim outlines of two men, and we 
felt certain, as they came so near us that we could have 
almost touched them, that it was two of our comrades ; 
but we dare not even whisper to them lest we should 
cause them to betray themselves, and, perhaps, us too. 
They were, evidently, from the cautious manner in 
which they moved, aware that they were very close to 
the rebel guards. These men, I afterwards learned, 
were Porter and Wollam. 

After waiting a short time to see if they were dis- 
covered, and hearing nothing of them, we began to 
crawl out, concluding that there was no probability of 
the guards leaving that night. I should judge the 
8ei;itries were stationed about thirty paces apart, and to 
get out, there was no alternative but to pass between 
them. I selected a place' and crawled on my belly to 
the other side of the road safely, and then lay perfectly 
still, while Mark did the same. Mv hair fairlv stood on 
end as he wriggled along, for it seemed to me once or 
twice as if one of the sentries would certainly discover 
him before he would reach me. Fortunately, however, 
the guards were probably too drowsy, and had been on 
the alert so long that they became inattentive. This 
was one of our most narrow escapes. 

We were no more than safely across the road when 
a new and. unseen obstacle, in the shape of a high fence, 
presented itself, over which we must climb before we 


'••■^'-} ' —•••.-. • V \ T- -■ r. cr •. -,,T ' yrT- 

could breathe free. We crawled carefully to the fence, 
Bud by great patience apid ma6h carfej; 6ne at a tiiii^, 
managed to get over withput atti-acting the attentidft of 
the guards: Wefelt as if we had iaccomplish^ quite 
an achievement, when at last we had escaped beyond 
the fence a fe^ steps, and found ourselves in an open 
field, where we could push ahead noiselessly, and when, 
at last, we got away entirely out of hearing, we struck 
out on a full run. At the far side of the field we came 
to a small stream, in which we traveled some distance 
in the water, to take precaution against pursuit by dogs. 
Soon after, we struck a thick piece of woods on the 
slope of a hill-side, which we continued to ascend under 
the thick foliage for some time. But, at last, exhausted 
Nature asserted her full sway, and we were compelled 
to lie down and rest out of sheer inability to go further. 
Tip to this time, I think, neither of us had spoken, 
no more than if we had been dumb. As w€l threw ouiv 
selves on the ground, without breath or strength to g0 
further for the time being, we began to realize th^ 
weak, helpless condition we were in. We had been jto 
long shut up, without exercise and half starved, that to 
our surprise we found we had but little strength. It 
did not appear as if our limbs were strong enough to 
carry us five miles a day. When we looked forward to 
the long journey ahead of us, the hunger and "fatigue, 
it looked a little discouraging. I think, however, a 
portion of this sense of physical prostration was caused 
by the sudden relaxation from the great mental strain 
and excitement, which had been upon us from the time 
of the jail-break and immediately preceding it. This, 
with the intense exertion in runnings in our eiifeebled 


condition, had well nigh completely unnerved us. We 
were wild; too, almost, with joy at our escape. I could 
scarcely restrain myself from shouting at the top of my 
voice : 

"Glory to God on High! Free again! Liberty! 
Liberty! Praise God, fi cm whom all blessings flow! 
D — n the rebels ! D — n the lebellion ! D — n the 
slave-cursed Confederacy ! " 

We felt alternately paroxysms of anger and contri- 
tion, and 1 should have felt a sense of great relief and 
joy if I could have sung some good old familiar hymn 
of other davs in thanks for our almost miraculous deliv-' 

Dear reader, if j^ou have never been in prison as wo 
had been, you can never feel the wild, almost childish 
joy that we miserable beings felt when we came to 
fully realize that we were once more free from our 
galling fetters ; free from the prison gloom ; free from 
the clutclies of our inhuman captors, and that there 
was once more a prospect that we might again see our 
old flag, our old comrades, and the dear friends at 

But we had but little time to rest, rejoice or feel 
thankful in. We had to address ourselves to a moie 
serious task. Many contingencies yet stood between 
us and the goal of our hopes. Many armed enemies ; 
many long, weary miles of travel; many rivers lay 
across our path, and many d&ys of hunger and many 
sleepless nights, if we would succeed. 

Before we escaped from the prison and after we had 
determined on an escape, I studied over the subject 
of routes very carefully. I had seen enough of night 

1^ toSHEWfi FOB tfi^'cWMV 

titivei in the moimtains about Obattanooga and tslcmg 
tire Tennessee Eiver, and well knew, that the probabil- 
ities of our being picked up, should we go in that dirdc^ 
tion, would be very much greater. I, therefore, de-' 
cided in my own mind that, in case I had the good for- 
tune to get away, I would strike out for the Gulf, and 
try to reach some of the vessels of the Federal block- 
ading squadron. While this would be much the long- 
est route, the distance, as near as I could calculate, be- 
ing over three hundred miles, I thought there, would be 
less vigilance and liability of pursuit in that direction. 
In this conjecture it turned out that I was correct. 
The country was entirely unknown to me, except a 
slight general idea I had of it from the school geogra- 
phies. I only knew that the waters of the Chattahoo- 
che Biver, which flowed by west of Atlanta, entered 
the Gull 

While we rested on the hill-side, I communicated, in 
a whisper, to Mark my views, and he readily agreed 
that be would go in any dii'ection I thought best. 
Accordingly, we rose up and walked to an open place 
where we could see the stars, and soon determined our 
coarse, which was to be slightly south of west, and at 
once we set out as fast as we could travel. We spoke 
. no words as we walked on, and went as noiselessly as 
pos^ible, for we were watchfully on the look-out for 
scouting parties of cavalrymen that might be prowling 

We soon came to the railroad track leading from 
Atlanta to Columbus and knew from this that our 
coarse was about right. Our march led us through 
•ome rough country and we were compelled to halt and 


rest quite frequently, so that when it began to gro^y . 
light in the east we estimated that we were about eight, 
miles from the prison. We sought out a secluded . 
retreat for the day, and after getting each of us a stout- 
stick, which would answer either as a weapon or a 
w alking-stick, we lay down and slept until late in the 
afternoon. We woke up much rested, but were so 
lame and our feet were so sore that we could hardly 
take a step without excruciating pain. This was not to 
be wondered at, when our long confinement in prison 
and lack of exercise for weeks and months is consid- 
ered. We were hungry, and the scanty morsel of corn- 
bread we had brought from the prison the previous 
evening did not go far toward satisfying our sharp 
appetites. But it was all we had, and we ate it and 
were thankful, although we did not know where or 
when we would get our next rations. 

I now saw a difficulty in this attempt to get away 
that we did not encounter in our first attempt to reach 
the Federal lines. Our clothes had become dirty and 
ragged, and we had a sort of jail-bird look, that it seemed 
to me would betray us if we were seen. I was brought 
to a realization of this fact as I looked at Wood, whjen 
we sat together in silence beneath the great tree where 
we had taken shelter, waiting for the friendly mantle 
of darkness to shield our movements. And I suppose 
my own appearance was no more prepossessing than 
his. The miserable garments he wore did not cover 
his nakedness. His face was begrimed with dirt almost 
set in the skin. He had become thin and emaciated 
with fever, and had a ravenous appetite ; his eyes were 
sunken in his head and seemed to have the wild, nnnat- 


t . • . 

ural glare of a madman, which, at times, almost maae 
me shudder. The poor fellow's pitiable appearance, ViS * 
he sat there despondently and longingly gazing down 
on the beautiful vallej'' below, was such as to appeal to 
a heart of stone. Yet I knew that it was unsafe for us 
to go to a house, and we agreed not to be seen by a 
human being if we could avoid it. I felt certain that 
if we should meet any one, our appearance would at 
once betray us. We were in a country where we could 
not expect to find a friend, unless, possibly, it might be 
the negroes, of whom, as a class, we knew but very 
little. We were so weak, and the mental strain and 
long-continued anxiety, in which we had lived from 
day to day, had had the effect of making us, I may 
say^ foolishly suspicious and timid of everything. We 
were startled at every sudden noise, and crouched like 
sneaking wolves from the sight of man. 

As I sat there and beheld the sun receding behind 
the hills in the west, its long, resplendent rays lighting 
up the beautiful valley below us, which seemed to smile 
in peace and plenty, I could not. but think how much 
the Creator had done to make his creatures happy and 
contented beings, and how much they on their part 
had done to make themselves miserable. Why was I a . 
miserable, forsaken, hungry outcast, shunning the sight 
of my fellow beings in a civilized, (?) Christian (?) land, 
which the Creator had blessed with all the comforts 
necessary to the happiness of man ? I could not help 
comparing our condition to that of Christian in "Bun- 
yan's Pilgrim's Progress," who, on his way to the Celes- 
tial City, came into the Valley and Shadow of Death. 
^We were not, it is true, like Christian, in a land of 


*^ deserts- and drouth^^^ neilher did Av'eiibeet '^hobgobUm, 
satyris,' atid dfagbus," yet we were b^set by ^equally dis- 
agreeable enemies, xind onr condition was one of " unut- 
terable misery." We were n6t outlaws ; wo had "done 
no crime, unless trying to serv^e our country was axsritoe. 
I sometimes wondered, like Job of old, why my afflifc" 
tions were so great. 

But repining does a fellow no good, and I have some- 
times half questioned whether man's power of thought, 
reason, memory and reflection, really is so much of an 
advantage to him over the rest of the animal creation 
after all. If man had not these faculties he would not, 
at least, borrow trouble for the morrow, neither would 
he have the ingenuity and wickedness to persecute his 
fellow man, and turn that which an all-wise Creator 
made a paradise, into a place of torture and punishment 

While in the midst of these unpleasant thoughts, 
Mark broke the long silence by raising his head and 

" Alf, it is time for €is to go.'' 
: Our jotirney that night took us through a corn-field, 
where we pulled a few ears of corn and chewed it as we 
went along. I remember it was very hard and made 
my jaws very tired, but it helped to quiet my gnawing 
hunger. It was much better than nothing. After a 
toilsome night's journey, guided by the stars, and over 
a very rough country, in which we entirely avoided 
roads, we ,again secreted ourselves as the streaks of 
gray began to appear in the east, and, after scraping up 
a pile of leaves, laid down for the day. When we 
awoke, late in the afternoon, we found that our feet 
were so braised and sore^ and that we were otherwise 



BO lame, and withal so weak from hunger, that it taxed 
our endurance to the utmost to take a single step. We 
each took from our pockets an ear of corn, and after 
crunching and swallowing what we could, we put the 
rest in our clothes and hobbled off, making but very 
slow time for the jBrst naile oi' so. lu was in the month 
of October, and the nights were pretty nool, which, in 
our poorly-clad condition, compelled us to keep movjiig 
all the time to keep comfortably warm. 

The next morning came and still we had not reached 
the river. Again we hid ourselves and slept through 
the day. When night came and we tried to walk, we 
found our feet in such a deplorable condition that it 
did not seem possible for us to go farther. They were 
blistered, galled and so feverish and swollen that it 
seemed as if they would burst with very pain at every 


It began to be a serious question whether we would 
not have to give up traveling, and as we started, poor 
Mark crawled some distance on liis hands and knees, 
and, looking back at me, said in an appiealing tone, 
" Alf, what's a fellow's life but a curse to him when he 
has to drag it out in this way ? I would rather be dead 
and done with it." 

I encouraged him, telling him the worst was over 
and we would soon reach the river. I suppose we had 
shaped our course a little too far south and thus made 
the distance longer than it would otherwise have been. 
We struggled on for some time, sometimes crawling 
where the ground was stony, and stopping very often 
to temporarily quell the pain in our feet. I was a little 
aj^^axl; aiidj as the breeze fanned my aching teinplesi 



I thought I heard to our right the lull of running water. 
I told Mark, and cheered him up. "We forgot our tor- 
tures for the time being and scrambled on quite lively, 
and soon after had the satisfaction of standing on the 
banks of the Chattahooche. 

De Soto did not feel more joy when he first discov- 
ered the Mississippi, the great Father of Waters, nor 
was the ecstacy of Balboa greater, when, from the 
cloud-capped summits of Darien, his eyes first beheld 
the vast expanse of water which he named the Pacific 
Ocean. Like that great discoverer, we waded out into 
the water, carrying neither naked sword nor the ban- 
ner of our country like he, to take possession of our 
discovery in the name of our rulers, but to bathe our 
painful feet and cool our parched throats. 

We both felt that we had gone as far as we could. 
Wood had been crawling on his hands and knees much 
of the time to spare his aching feet, while my condition 
was but little better. It did not seem to me that we 
could have gone a mile farther, but the discovery of 
the river inspired us with new hope. We sat down and 
chewed some more of our corn and rejoiced at our good 
fortune. We had left the Atlanta prison and gallows 
far behind. We were by waters that led to the great 
ocean, hundreds of miles away, where we might find 
friends and see the old flag once more. 

I now felt like shouting for joy at the bright pros- 
pect before us. But our stj'le of traveling did not 
admit of any noisy demonstration. We were rather 
imitating the peculiar traits of such night prowlers as 
the wolf and his sly congener, the fo:x. We made cer- 
tain of the direction the river current ran, and started 



southward in high hopes, although the temptatiofi to 
go northward to our friends was very strong. We now 
wanted a boat, and, not long after we started, fortune 
iiad' another pleasant surprise in store for us, for we 
caone upon a skiff safely moored, with lock and chain, 
to a tree. After carefully inspecting the surroundings, 
to see that no prying eyes were peering on us, we 
** loosened" the lock with a stone, and in a few minutes 
after were smoothly gliding down the current of the river, and I doubt if two more joyful mortals 
ever navigated a canoe than we two, with that stolen 
little craft. 

What a happy change! Our weary limbs and pain- 
ful feet now had a rest, and yet we w,ere gliding noise- 
lessly on our journey. What wonderful teachers hard- 
ship and stem necessity are I Discontented mortals do 
not half appreciate the blessings they hav€i until they 
have been pupils in the school of adversity. I felt as if 
this ehilly night's ride, in a little stolen boat, in a 
strange river, whose shores were hidden by Plutonian 
shadows, was the best and most grateful that I ever 
had, or ever expected to enjoy. 

We pulled off our old boots and bathed our lacerated 
feet in the water, and quenched the tormenting thirst 
caused by the indigestible hard corn, which was now 
our only nourishn^ent. We kept our paddles pretty 
busy, as we wished to get as far away as possible from 
^here we took the boat, before the dawn of day. When 
daylight began to appear, we paddled our craft into a 
bayou, safe from view, and secreted ourselves in a 
thicket for the day. 


de Pangs of Hunger — VisioiiB of Feastmg — Wo Most Ban 
Food — Vifflt a Rebel Planter's House — Qet a Qood JSeal— 
Hearing the News from Atlanta— How the Desperate Train- 
Thieves Broke Jail — A Tumble in the River — M&rk Geta to 
"the End of the Biver" — A Hyaterious Noise — Beckleaa 
Run Over a Hill-Dam — Narrow Escape amid Foaming, 
Doehing Waters and Rocky Gorges- Mark Falls in the 
River — A Toilsome Land Joumej of Three Days and Nights 
—Passing Colomhus- The Rebel Ram Chattahooche— Ca;^ 
tuie AnolJber Beat— Soon Exchange It for a Better One— 
Pursued by Its Owners — How We Esc^m Them and Sweep 
Down the Broad River— Feeding on Com and Pumpkin 
Seeds- Mosquitoes, Sn;^es and Alligators, 

fOUR days and nights bad now passed since we hai 
eaten food, except the moi-sel of corn-bread wo 
brought out of the prison, and the hard com, 
which, with the copious use of river water, was begin- 
ning to cause great distress in our stomachs, which 
only added to the unpleasant pangs of hunger. Wq 
laid down to sleep the day away, but between our great 
hunger and the swarms of mosquitoes we could get 
but little rest. I could, while steeping, see in my 
dreams, tables spread and groaning with loads of good 
things ; bread, meat, cheese, coffee, biscuit and 
butter were all within my reach, and were vanishing 
J)efore my ravenous appetite, when in the midst of the 
treat pleasures of this feast, I would Buddeoly waken j,- 
IS ^77) 


to a sense of the reality of the case, and what a mad- 
dening disappointment I would feel. With this dis- 
turbed sort of rest we worried through the day, the 
demands of hunger and our stomachs getting the better 
of Nature's demand for rest, until at last we grew des- 
perate, and at early twijjght, in the evening, pulled out 
of the little bayou, determined on a raid of some sort, 
on a house for food, peaceable, if possible, forcibjo, if 

At last, and before it grew too dark, we spied a 
house some distance from the river bank, which we 
thoyght, from appearances, we could capture with a 
plausible story, or by force, so we leisurely concealed 
our boat, and, in order to let it get quite dark, delayed 
our visit until a little later in the evening. 

On approaching the house, we saw in its immediate 
vicinity quite a number of negro cabins, and in the 
yard surrounding the house, about twenty blood-hounds 
chained to the fence, indicating that these were the 
premises of an extensive planter. The only occupants 
of the house were an old man and woman. We apol- 
ogized for disturbing them and told them we were sol- 
diers who had been on furloughs returning to our regi- 
ments at Atlanta, and wished directions to the ferry 
( we had discovered a ferry as we came down ) ; also, 
that we were hungry and wanted to ^et somethir^ *o 
eat, provided they felt like feeding hungry soldier? 
without money, as we had had no pay for some time, p^d 
were both moneyless and in bad health, Mark's apj vr- 
ance proving this latter assertion. It was quite dark, 
however, and they could not see us very distinctly, but 
they evidently credited our story, for they told us to 


be seated and we would soon be made welcome to such 
food as they had. 

They were a couple of quite intelligent, but unsophis- 
ticated old people, in comfortable circumstances, living,- 
as most Southerners did, away from any highway, and 
we gained their confidence so far as to feel ourselves 
assured from suspicion. I had been in Dixie so long 
that I had acquired, from the guards and citizens, their: 
vernacular of speech quite perfectly; besides this, we 
had learned the names of officers and the number of 
different regiments, such as the Eighth Georgia cavalry,^ 
Fifth Tennessee infantry, etc., until we were able to 
tell quite a plausible story, if not too closely questionedj. 

We asked the old man if there was any late news ; 
he said, '' Nothing, except that the Yankee raiders had 
seized the Atlanta jailer, overpowered the guards, and' 
a number of them escaped and had not yet be^n 
caught." We expressed great surprise that such a 
piece of audacity could be made successful in Atlanta, 
The old man said " They were a desperate, dangerous lot 
of scoundrels, who ought to have been hung long ago.'* 
He said many of them stood up and fought the soldiers 
with clubs and brick, even after the guards had shot 
them through, and finally they jumped the high fence 
and run like deer. 

He expressed his doubts about the South being able 
to beat back such a reckless band of robbers and free- 
booters as were swarming down from the Yankee coun-' 
try. He said all the worst class of low-down thieves 
and the scum of all the great cities of the North were 
hired ^o come down and take part against the South. 
We assured him that it would all come out right in the^ 


.■*»."" ~- 


end, and the South would triumph ; that one Southern 
man could whip five " Tanks " any day, and that there 
was no doubt of the final result. 

In the meantime, we had devoured everthing the 
good woman had set before us on the table. We were 
ashamed, but our hunger was so much stronger than 
our sense of shame that we could not leave off, and if we 
iad not been in a hurry, we would have waited for her 
to have prepared another meal for us. She said she 
regretted that she had not more coolied to set before 
us, but we told her she had been very kind and thanked 
them, at the same time bidding them good night, when 
we started off, as they supposed, for the ferry. A short 
time afterward we were in our boat pulling down 
stream with more vigorous energy than we had before. • 
"We kept up a steady stroke of the paddles for some 
hpurs, feeling that each stroke placed so much more 
distance between us and the prisoh. 

While we were thus moving along with steady, cau- 
tious stroke, high in the hopes of the future, I suddenly, 
quicker than a flash, found myself lying flat on my 
back in the river. What on earth had happened I did 
not know, the accident had been so sudden. I thought 
of earthquakes, whales, sharks, torpedoes and manj 
other things. Luckily, one of my feet caught on the 
side of the boat, and I drifted vf^ith it until Mark came 
to my assistance and pulled me out. The cause of my 
mishap had been a ferry-boat wire, which was stretched 
across the river, and hung just low enough to catch me 
fairly as I sat in the stern of the boat. It struck Mark, 
but he sat in the middle and fell into the bottom of the 
boat. We were going at a good speed; and the collision 

•'end op the ErVEB.** 181' 

^ ^_ ^ ' ■> 

^ • • . .. ■...;_■ — ■ -;. .4 V. » . 

came so suddenly, that it is a wonder we did not fare 
worse. Fortunately, there were no guards at the ferry, 
so we had no cause to apprehend discovery or molesta- 
tion. My greatest mishap was a thorough wetting, for 
the night was frosty and cold and caused me to chill. 

This was followed in the after part of the night by a 
stupor that I could not shake off, and my continued 
efforts at the paddle had well nigh exhausted me. 
Mark could not manage the boat very well, as he had 
tried it a number of times. But I felt that I must have 
rest and sleep, and so gave the boat over into his hands, 
enjoining him to keep it in the current. I laid down 
in the bottom of the boat, and soon sank into a state 
of f orgetf ulness and sleep. I do not know how long I 
had slept, but, some time in the night, Mark aroused 
me^ and told me we could go no further, as we had 
come " to the end of the river." It was some time be- 
fore he could awaken me fully to consciousness, so that 
I could comprehend our situation. 

At last I began to look around, to determine what 
Mark's " end of the river " meant. I soon discovered 
that he had run the boat away under a ledge of tha 
mountain, and a dim light could only be seen in one 
direction. All else around us was impenetrable dark* 
ness. I took the paddle and worked the boat in the 
direction of the light, and in a little while we emerged 
from beneath this overhanging mountain ledge, smd 
again reached the current of the river, down which the 
boat was soon rapidly gliding. Mark now discovered 
that the " end of the river " had not yet been reached| 
but he did not care to take charge of the boat again. 

I hftve omitted to mention a matter, unimpoitaat to 


my story, although it shows how suspicious a fellow 

may become, when he imagines that every strangO' 

sound he hears may proceed from a lurking, pursuing 

enemy. Nearly the whole time, from the place where 

we began our boat journey, we seemed to be followed. 

At irregular intervals through the night, we would 

hear a noise in the water, alwavs about the same dis- 

tance behind us, which sounded precisely as if a largo 

Btone had suddenly fallen from a great heif^ht into thd 

;river. The noise never came much nearer, and never 

.varied but little in distance, and always seemed to be 

just behind us. We were wholly unable to account for 

it, and we were thus somewhat vexed because w« could 

not solve the mj^'stery. Finally, one evening, as We 

started into the current from our hiding-place, and 

! while it was yet quite light, we saw a good-sized 

animal swimming not far from us, and pretty 

soon it ' plunged under the water, making the 

lidentical mysterious noise we had heard. It followed, 

;at least it seemed to be the same one, in our wake until 

»we reached the rapids of the river above Columbus, 

' after which we heard it no more. To this day I have 

not the remotest idea as to what kind of creature it was. 

Shortly after this adventure, we perceived that we 

were not to have as smooth sailing all the way. The 

river began to grow rough, and the water ran over 

benches and ledges of rocks, and, in places, with great 

velocity, so much so that we narrowly escaped being 

** broken up," on several occasions during this night's 

journey. We passed over a number of places that we 

would not have dared to risk in daylight, when we 

eoold have seen the danger. It seemed to grow worse 


nnd woi'se as we went on, when daylight warned iis 
that it was time to tie up and hide, which we did, and, 
the day being warm and pleasant, we had a comforta- 
ble rest — the best since our escape. 

On the following night we came to a mill-dam, whsro 
the water, judging from the noise, poured over in great 
volume and force. We maneuvered around for some 
time above it, not knowing what to do, but finally dis- 
covered what appeared to be an apron, near the center 
of the dam,^nd decided to risk running it. Accord- 
ingly, wt. :^wed up stream some distance to get under 
good headway, then turning the head of the boat dowa 
stream, we bent to our paddles with all our mighty' 
We came down with the velocity of an express-train. 
What we supposed might have been an apron, was 
nothing but a break in the dam, and over it we ^hot 
like an arrow, shutting our eyes and holding our. breath. 
In an instant after, we landed (luckily right side up), 
away below, in the midst of the angry, foaming torrent, 
and plying our paddles right vigorously and keeping 
the bow of our boat down stream, we rode out safely, 
but then and there " swore off " on running mill-dams 
in the night. 

\7g continued our journey, though the river was still 
rough and growing worse. We were constantly among 
rocks and foaming, headlong torrents of water, while 
steep rocky walls confined the stream to very narrow 
limits, and dark, shadowy mountain peaks loomed up 
in the back-ground, reminding us of the Tennessee 
about Chattanooga. We went on from bad to worse, 
until at last, during the latter part of the night, we 
were incautiously drawn into a gorge, where, it seemed. 



■ ■ ■ ^ ■ • ' ' ■ • :■ .. ■-.:. ; . ■ . ;. ■■': ./; '■■ ..rf-v- 

that the destruction of our boat was ineTitaWe. Such 
was the force and velocity of the water, that we lost 
all control of the boat, and, in one instant would be 
spinning around iu a furious eddy until our heads were 
fairly dizzy, and in the next, we would be dashed 
against the rocks, until it seemed as if our boat would 
be splintered to pieces. We regarded our escape here 
as the narrowest we had made, and as quick as we 
could do so with safety, we landed on the rooks, and, 
with many rpgrets, abandoned our little 4Braft, to begin 
a tedious, toilsome land journey of three days and 
nights, over rocky hills, bluffs and mountains along the 

j Just as we had landed the boat, Mark! started to walk 
out, and, losing his balance, fell headlofig into the 
river. With considerable difficulty I fished him out as 
soon as possible, and the early morning being quite 
cool, the poor fellow was chilled through and through, 
and it was with the greatest difficulty that 1 finally 
succeeded in getting him up into the mountains^ and 
continued to exercise him by walking, so as to get up a 
good circulation of his blood. But he became so 
benumbed that I finally let him lie down, and gathered 
a lot of cedar boughs and piled them thickly over him, 
and then crawled in with him myself, and kept him as 
warm as possible. Here we slept and rested until late 
in the afternoon of that day, which became very warm 
under the bright rays of the sun. 

This fall in the river was only one instance of Mark's 
exhausted condition during our journey down the Chat- 
tahooche. He would often stagger and reel about as a 
man who is stupefied with liquor, and at times no 


■ \ 

seemed to be almost blind, so that I was constantly on 
the watch, and oftentimes had to lead him by the hand 
and care for him as for a child. 

Our progress was very slow, and, towards the last, ^ 
extremely painful. The old bruises and blisters on our 
feet, which were not entirely healed, came back worse 
than ever, and much of the time we crept along on the 
rocks on our hands and knees, believing that if once we 
could get below this range of mountains, we would 
find navigable waters. We came in sight of several 
isolated cabins in these wild, rocky hills, where we 
managed to beg a little food on two different occasions, 
which helped us very much, for we were getting so 
weak that we could scarcely go five miles a day. The 
suffering we endured on our last night's travel, I can- 
not describe. It seemed as if we must give up, and die 
were we were. But at last, when daylight came, to 
our great delight, we saw the spires and smoke stacks 
of a town in the distance. We knew this to be Colum- 
bus, Georgia, and that when we got below it, the river 
was navigable clear to the Gulf. 

We now deemed it prudent to hide ourselves for the 
day, which we had not done in the mountains, and 
wait for the friendly cloak of darkness. When night 
came, we made a long, careful detour, away out around 
the suburbs of the town, and at last had the satisfac- 
tion of again reaching the river bank, below the town, 
where we found good shelter among the dense grape- 
vines and drift-wood. By this time it was nearly morn- 
ing again, and, like beasts of prey, we betook ourselves 
to a safe hiding-place. 

During all the time we had been in the vicinity of 


the town, we had heard a oonstantj clattering soundy as 
of a hundred workmen with hammers. This noise 
came from near the river, where there appeared also to 
be a great light. When daylight came the noise still 
continued, and we were near enough so that we could 
see that it was caused by a large number of workmen, 
engaged on a vessel, which they were covering with 
iron. The boat appeared to be very large and of great 
strength, and evidently was intended for a warlike 
purpose. On closer inspection, the following night, I 
found that she was a powerfully-built gunboat, which 
they were evidently in great haste to complete, as the 
jhammers of the workmen never ceased on her, night or 
day, nor for a single moment. 

< This gunboat was none other than the rebel ram 
Chattahooche, a formidable iron monster, built as an 
I engine of destruction for the blockading fleet in Appa- 
lachicola Bay. The first knowledge the Navy Depart- 
ment had of her was through Wood and myself. The 
ram, on her first downward trip, blew up, near the 
mouth of Flint Kiver, and never reached the Gulf, 
i Our great anxiety now was to secure a boat. Wood 
was so lame he could not walk, and I was not much 
better. This delayed us here two days and nights. 
During the nights, I was prowling about, up and down, 
trying to discover some sort of a craft that would float. 
In my reconnoitering about thd gun-boat, I had dis- 
wvered an old skiff chained to a stump, quite near and 
in plain sight of the workmen, to some of whom, no 
ioubt, it belonged. I secured a stout stick for a lever, 
and crept to the stump to which the boat was chained, 
when, watching my opportunity, I got a pry in such a 


manner as to break the lock on the chain. The lights 
shone so brightly that I could plainly see the men's 
eyes, and I very much feared they would notice me. 
However, I worked off with the boat carefully, and 
half an hour after, I had Mark aboard and we were 
pulling rapidly down stream. We found our prize to 
be a leaky old concern, and one of us was constantly 
busy keeping her bailed out. 

After we had drifted down some miles, we spied three 
boats tied to the shore on the Alabama side of the river, 
and as we had been giving our attention entirely to the 
Georgians all along, we concluded to trade boats on that 
side of the river, provided we could secure a better boat. 
Just as we had got loosened the one we selected, three 
men with a pack of dogs were coming down the hill 
toward us, and the head man, evidently the owner, 
began hallooing to us and calling us slanderous names, 
such as thieves and the like. We did not stop to bandy 
words with the fellows, but speedily shoved all the 
boats into the river, and took a course up the river, 
as though we were going toward Columbus. They 
rent the air with curses upon our heads. In the course 
of fifteen or twenty minutes, they had secured the boats 
we shoved into the stream, and with the lights they 
carried, we could distinctly see that they were bent on 
pursuing us. We took a wide circuit, and then headed 
downward under cover of the willows, behind several 
small islands near the Georgia shore, and came out in 
the main stream far below the islands, while we had 
the satisfaction of seeing the lights of our pursuers dis- 
appearing up the river, and prowling about the upper 
end of the islands, which we were now leaving far 

188 THS PAiras oY HtrKasB. 

b^fifnd us. We soon lost sight of them, and the strong 
presumption is that they never succeeded in finding their 

We increased our speed to the utmost, and kept under 
the shadows of the wooded shores as much as possible, 
pongratulating each other on our lucky boat trade. 
With a good boat and an open river we felt now that 
our chances of escape were exceedingly good, and our 
' spirits were buoyant and hopes^ high, although our 
fijomachs were craving food. We were (in the verge 
"^'-^ starvation all the time, for we had eaten food only 
three times, not counting the com and morsel of bread, 
since we started, although we had been traveling every 
night, and, in the mountains, both day and night. 

When I look back and think of those lonjf, painful, 
hungry nights and days, I wonder how it was possible 
that we kept up. I do not think I could withstand the 
same deprivation again, alt^iough a man does not 
know what he can endure imtil he tries it. I believe 
a human being can endure greater hardships and longer- 
continued suffering than any other animal. Hunger 
was now our main dread. We felt that our paddles 
and the stiff current of the river were good for fifty 
miles each night, provided we could keep from starving. 
To be sure, we were used to fasting ; indeed, for months 
not a day had passed that we had not felt the pinching 
distress of an 'unsatisfied longing for food. But on we 
swept, hour after hour, down the broad river, happy in 
the thought that we were fast placing scores of miles 
between 3s and the hated prison.. The rest given our 
feet had much allayed the pain we had suffered, and 
morning came and we had secreted ourselves for 

THB CIBUAL jtmicttiMOOOBM. 189: 

the day, we slept well, but. awoke in tbe afternoon 
ravenously desperate for want of something to eat. 

"We went out, and, reconnoitering a little, discovered 
a com-field, Making sure that there was no one about, 
we stole into the field and found plenty of corn and 
pumpkins. The hard corn and river water did not go 
well together, and proved to be an unpleasant diet to 
us, so we broke up the pumpkins, ate freely of the seed, 
and filled our pockets with more for lunch, each of us 
taking also a few ears of com. By the time we got 
back, it was nearly dark, and we pulled out. The 
pumpkin-seed diet, poor as it was, helped us wonder- 
fully, and we made a big night's journey, passiag a 
steamboat upward bound, which we dodged by pulljng 
under the ehadows of the timber aud low-banging 

Thus we progressed, traveling by boat at night, and 
laying by in the daytime. If any reader of this story 
has ever made a trip on the lower end of the Chatta* 
hooche River, I think be or she will agree with me 
when I say that the river scenery is peculiarly monoto- 
nous, and causes a sense of loneliness. It is a vast 
Wfater-path through dense forests of cypress and other 
Bwamp-growing timber. On either side, to the right 
and left, were endless swamps covered with water, and 
the river channel was only observable by its being free 
from logs and gigantic trees. Great* festoons of gray 
and sombre moss hung suspended from even the top- 
most limbs of these trees, reaching clear down to the 
water, and floated and swung to the music of the sigh- 
ing winds. Perhaps it was the circumstances in our 
ease that made us feel so, but I remember it aa a .diA> 


• . - - - 

mal, lonesome journey. Sometimes we would not see a 
sigh of civilization for f orty-eigW hours a.t a stretch. 

Besides the torments of hunger, our nights were 
made almost unendurable by the swarms of blood- 
thirsty mosquitoes, which came upon us in clouds. I 
did think that I had learned considerable about mos- 
quitoes in my boyhood days, in the Black Swamp of 
Northwestern Ohio, but for numbers, vocal powers and 
ferocity, I will " trot " the Chattahooche swamp fellows 
out against any others I have ever " met up with." 
The ragged clothing, which yet clung to our backs, did 
not much more than half cover us ; especially was this the 
case with Wood, who was, I may truthfully say, half 
naked, and was thus doubly annoyed by the omnipres- 
ent " skeeters." And my own condition was but little 
better. To protect ourselves from the pests, we 
thatched our bodies all over with great skeins of mo^s, 
and two more comical-looking beings than we were, thus 
rigged opt, it would be hard to find, but it baffled the , 
bills of our tormentors. 

"We had two other annoyances — moccasin snakes and 
alligators. The latter, Hvith which the water swarmed 
as we went further toward the Gulf, were a terror to 
me. They were a ferocious, hungry, dangerous-looking 
beast at best. We knew but little of their habits. The 
largest water mhabitant I had ever seen was a Maumee 
Kiver catfish, and the most dangerous, a Black-Swamp 
massasauger. Night or day, these "'gators," as the 
Southern negroes call them, like the mosquitoes, were 
always within sight and hearing. Sometimes, during 
the day, in order to keep out of the water, we would 
take shelter in a pile of drift-wood. When we would 



Wate tip, after a, sbort nap, every old log and hommock 
about us would be covered with " gatoi^." They livould 
lay listlessly and lazily, with eyes almost shut, looking 
hungrily and quizzically out of one corner of their 
wicked peepers, as if w^aiting for us to leave, or for a 
chance to nab one of us by the leg or arm and ruii^ 
Mark grew superstitious of these creatures. He said 
he had read of wolves following a famished Iniffalo in 
the same manner, and that sha;rks would ho- r' around 
a ship from which a corpse was to be cast overboard, 
and that, too, even days before death had occurred or 
was even suspected by the sailors. But the "gators" 
were cowardly fellows, and, on the least demonstration 
on our part, would scramble into the water. Still, wa 
feared they might steal upon and lay hold of us with 
their powerful jaws while we were asleep. "We had 
learned that they were not apt to attack, except when 
the object of their voracious appetites lay quiet, birt, 
when once they did lay hold, that they were hard to 
beat off. They will drag their victim, be' it man or 
beast, instantly under the water, \Vhere the struggle 
goonenda. . ~ 



.V. '« '-.t 


4gain Oo After a Meal -> In Our Absence r Boat is Stolen^ 
Our Feelings of Despair — A Night of u.oom — Dangerousr 
Hsthod of Securing Another Boat — ooinplete Success, and 
We Gk> on Our Way Rejoicing — A Feast on Raw Cat-fish 
aad Com — Mark Wood*s Famished, Frenzied Condition <*^ 
Nearing the Gulf — AppalachicoJa — Visit a House to Ligl^t^ 
My Pipe and Qet Information — A Royal Feast on Coolr 4! 
Fish and Roasted Sweet Potatoes ~ Going Down the Bay-^ 
Looking for the Blockading Fleet — Going through an Oyster 
Bed-^llie Federal Fleet in the Distance -^ ThriUing^ Baptiilw: 
0U8 Sight — We See th'^ 0|d Flpg Onqe More, 

** Hail I stairy. emblem of the freni** . ,;ci' 

E w^re now journeyitig in 9. ^placQ where oxpf. 
means of getting food \yiere popi; indeed, for .tl^epe, 
\v IS no food. After enduring hunger as lojig.iw 
we possibly could, we weio finally forced a second time, 
smce leaving Columbus, to go in search of something 
to eat. This, I think, was about five or ten miles 
above Chattahooche landing. It is not necessary ., to. 
relate the particulars of our search for a human habit- 
ation and the story of deception we told. It was a 
little before dark, wh^^n we struck out on foot, so weak^ 
hungry and faint that we could not walk many steps 
without resting, in search of something or anything we 
coi Jd devour. We were successful, or partially so, at 
teast, and cane back safely, much strengthened, as vvell 
as elated ^ver our good luck, ^vhen, to our great dismay 




and chagrin, we found that our boat had been stolen 
during our absence. 

It was evident some one had seen us land and watched 
until we left, and then taken the boat. I cannot de- 
scribe our feelings. We scarcely knew what to do. 
The night was very dark, and it rained incessantly. 
We waded about in the watw, tall grass and cane, and 
after a while found a little mound or hommock, which 
projected above the water, and on which we perched 
ourselves for the night. Such a dismal, long, rainy 
night as it was, too ! It did seem as if the mosquitoes 
would carry us away piecemeal towards morning, when 
the rain had ceased. Had it not been for the food we 
had eaten, I believe we would have given up in despair. 
When morning came, we waded up and down in the 
cane and grass all forenoon, and about the only discov- 
ery we made, was that another rive.r came in just below 
us and we could not go further without a boat. 

During the afternoon I descried something on the 
far side of the river that looked like a boat partly sunk 
in the water, one end only of which was out. The next 
trouble was to get to it, as the river was about three- 
quarters of a mile wide, as near as we could judge. 
We found an old piece of plank, whicli we lashed on 
three flat rails with a gra|)e-Vine, and with a piece of 
narrow stave for a paddle and to fight off " gators," 
I twined my legs firmly around the center of the frail 
craft, while Mark pushed it off into the stream and s(tood 
at the ed^e of the grass watching ms. The raft sunk 
down until the water came about my waist, but I stucic 
to it, and after about an hour's hard work, I effected a 
landing on the far side, and^ not long after^ found my« 




self rewarded in the possession of a much better boat 
than the one we had lost the night before. I was noi 
long in bailing out the water and rowing her back to 
where Mark was, whose gratitute found expression in 
tears and hearty liand-shaking, as he crept into the 
boat with me. 

We now plied our paddles energetically for a while, 
until we felt sure we had passed out of reach of the 
owners of the boat, when we put into the cane and 
secreted ourselves until night. After this mishap in 
losing our boat, we resolved that we would not both 
leave again while our journey lasted, starve or no 
starve. During the following day, while we were laid 
up waiting for night and fighting mosquito^ I went 
out^ skulking about to see what I could see, and in 
passing through an old field found some fish-hooks and 
lines in an old vacant cabin. I appropriated them, and 
we found them a godsend to us, for they proved tht 
means of keeping us from actual starvation. 

The country, from the point where we then were, on 
both sides of the river, nearly to the gulf, seemed to 
be but one endless expanse of swamp, with scarcely a 
human inhabitant, or, indeed, any spot or place where 
a human could make a permanent home. It was the 
most forsaken, desolate country of all we had seen. 
We could find nothing, not even com, to subsist on 
now ; but we had quite a fair supply tied in bark and 
dragging after us in the water, that it might soak soft 
and be a little more palatable. The effects of this raw 
com on us had been very bad. Our stomachs had 
become feverish, and it caused sharp pain and soma, 
ailment akin to cholera-morbua. 

frvBsnnof a on baw oAivraa. 195 

Ve must have had a touch of scurvy, for our mouths - 
and gums had become feverish, and our teeth were 
loose, and would bleed constantly when we attempted 
to chew the com. This was the condition we were in 
when, providentially, we became possessed of the fish- 
hooks and lines. 

And now for a feast on raw cat-fish, of which we 
caught a plentiful supply as we journeyed on in the 
night. I have previously neglected to mention that I 
had with me an old one-bladed knife without any back, 
which was our only weapon, defensive or offensive. 
This old knife I had secreted when we were in the 
Atlanta prison, and had kept it with me as a precious 
treasure during all our wanderings. With this knift 
and our fingers, we managed to skin and dress the fish, 
which we ate raw with our soaked com. Matches, we 
had none^ nor had we been able to get any, and so we 
had no fire. I could eat only a mouthful ot two of the 
raw fish at a time. My stomach was weak and fever- 
ish, and rebelled against the fiesh. Still it tasted 

Mark, poor, hungry fellow, tore it from the bones m 
great mouthfuls, like a ravenous wolf, until I would 
beg of him to desist, fearing the results. He would 
set and crunch the bloody flesh, and look at me with a 
wild, strange stare, and never speak a word. His eyes 
were sunken away in his head, almost out of flight, and 
as he would seize a fresh piece, the pupils of his eyes 
would dilate with the gloating, ferocious expression of 
a panther or other carniverous wild beast. I had fre- . 
quently heard of men losing their reason and going 
mad from the effects of protracted hunger, and 1 8ome» 



times shuddered as I looked at its telling effects on 
poor Mark's wasted frame, and the unnatural /g^lare of 
his eyes. He would mutter and /s^roan in his sleep, and 
sometimes scream out as if pierced by a knife, when he 
would suddenly start up and call my name. Toward 
the last of our journey his condition was, much of the 
time, a cause of great anxiety to me. Still, after we began 
to eat the fish, he seemed much better, and I only feared 
the unnatural quantities of the raw flesh he ate would 
loll him. it -. <L. 

The reader who enjoys three regular meals each day, 
can better understand our condition when I state that 
from the time we left the mountains above Columbus, 
to the time of which I am now speaking, where we 
found the fishing-tackle, a period of nearly two weeks, 
we had eaten but four meals, aside from the stuff we 
had picked up, such as raw pumpkins, corn, roots and 
pumpkin-seed, all of which we obtained in very limited 
quantities. ^ . 

We were now nearing the bay, as was plain to be 
seen, for on each succeeding morning the river had 
grown wider. Finally we became well satisfied that 
we were nearing a large town, which afterwards 
proved to be Appalachicola, und this made us anxious 
to learn something of the state of affairs below — 
whether there were rebel picket-boats, or obstructions^ 
such as totpedo-boats and the like. 

About this time we discovered a cabin some distance 
from the shore, and, to have a plausible excuse, I took 
an old pipe Mark had, and fiU^ it with a few crumbs 
of tobacco, which I fished from my old coat-linings, 
and theU; taking a piece of rotten wood, which would 


V '^ 

iretafn fire, T left Mark with the boat arid walked over 
to the house to get a light for my pipe. The occupants 
of the cabin proved to be an old Scotchman and bis 
wife. He was very inquisitive, and asked more ques- 
tions than I cared to answer. But I managed to evade 
suspicion, and. at the same tinae gained considerable 
information. I learned that we were about five miles 
above Appalachicola, and that the Federal blockading 
squadron was stationed at the mouth of the bay, eigh* 
teen miles below the city. I hurried back to the boat| 
and found Mark rejoicing over a little armful of sweet* 
t^rotatoes he had stolen from a negro's canoei which be 
bad discovered in my ab^ 

We got into the bbat . at once paddled to the 
other side of the bay or river, where we entered into 
an' inlet or creek, up which we ran for some distance, 
when wfecame to adehsebane-brake. Here we secreted 
ourselves and built a little fire, roasted fish and pota> 
toes, parched corn, and dined in right royal style^ 
although we felt the need of a little salt. Two hungry 
wolves never ate more ravenously than we did, althou^ 
we were obliged to restrain ourselves, and leave off 
while yet hungry. It was with the utmost difficulty 
that I absolutely forced Mark to quit: After eating 
enough for four men, as I thought, he still beggec^ for 
more. I finally induced him to go to sle^.p, and stored 
away some of the cooked fisii and sweet potatoes for 
the next day. 

The information we had gained was invaluable to us, 
although I felt I had obtained it at some risk. When night 
came on, we pulled out and passed down on the opiK>- 
Ata side of the bay from the city, slowly and oautiousiy 



"Wo had moss in tbo bottom, on the sides arid in the* 
seats of our boat for our comfort. As soon as we had 
gone well past the city, whose bright lights we could 
plainly see, w^e crossed the bay to the city side below 
the city, in the hope of finding a more sea- worthy boat. 
We were unable to find any other boat, however, and 
pulled on down the bay as fast as we could. While 
going down the bay that evening, we ran along in the 
midst of a large school of huge fish of some descrip, 
lion, from Avhich we apprehended danger evei^y instant 
These monsters would swim' along on all sides of lis, 
with great fins stickmg more than a foot out of the 
Avater, and extended like a great fan. They would fre- 
quently whisk their fish-shaped tails aboVe the wate'r, 
'which seemed to be as much as three to four feet Across 
f roin tip to tip. One of these fish could easily have ."'. 
wrecked our boat with its hu^e bodv. I have Hever 
been able to learn to what class these finny monstei's ' 
belonged. We hoped to reach the blockading fleet 
before daylight, but the night grew cloudy and we 
were unable to tell what course we were running, as 
the bay grew wider and wider as we went out. We 
decided the best thing we could do was to pull for 
laiiv!, which wc reached after midnight, pretty well ex- 
]^ .^.cd with our liard work at the paddles. We'tied 
i;^) CAW boat and vrent to a thicket near by and slept 

A riieu wo awoke in the morning, we Avere cheered 
liy the beautiful surroundings — all just as nature had 
f jsUiOiicd them, for the habitation or handiwork pf 
r.iau was nowhere to be seen. Our couch had been a 
bod oi prickly grass, that caused a stinging, itching 

^ . .0T3T ON THE GULP. 199 

Be^nsatlon all over our bodies. We had slept in a wild- 
orange grove. 'J'be shore was lined with the lemon, 
tho oran<;c, and tiic j^abn tree, besides many other vari- 
eties of which I kncv/ nothing. The leaves of the palm 
were so large that we could lie down and completely 
cover ourselves with a single leaf. These beautiful 
groves and shores had no cluirms for us in the present 
case, however. We wore looking for the Federal- 
blockading fleet. 

We made a hast}^ brealcfast on our fish and potatoes 
left from the night previous, and started for our boat; 
but imagine our surprise when we found it distant at 
least two hundred jards from the ^vater. Mark, who 
had lived in the old country, explained to me that this 
was the effect of the oqcjui tide, which had gone out 
Bince^we landed, and would not come in again until 
that night. There was no safe course left us but to* 
drag our boat to the water, which we did, after tug- 
ging at it for about an hou/. 

When we w^ere again on the water we could see the 
spires and high buildings of the city we had passed, but 
no sight of ships could we see. We took our course as 
well as we could, and pulled for the open sea. A little 
boat, which seemed to be a fishing smack, under full 
sail, passed away to the leeward of us, coming out from 
the city, and caused us no little concern, but she passed 
off and either did not notice us or care to inquire Avho 
we were. We plied our paddles industriously until 
about the middle of the afternoon, when we spied an 
island away in the distance. We had been out of sight 
of land for some time, and the. view of the island 
cheered us up a little, for we knew if a rough sea camo 


on that onr little boat was liaole io get swamped. ^ This 
islapd was much further away than we had supposedi 
As we neared it we were in some doubt as to whether 
we should pass to the right or left of it, when our 
decision was made by the discovery to the left and away 
in the distance, of something that had the appearance 
of dead trees. 

In the same direction, and right in our course, was 
lomethinf^ that appeared like a bar or gravel bank. 
We supposed the old trees stood on another low island 
OP bar beyond. But, as we neared this bar, that which 
at first seemed to be dead trees, began to take the shape 
of ship-niastSj and we imagined that we could see soinor 
thing that looked like the dark outlines of blacl^ smol^e-; 
stacks in the blue, hazy distance. TBis made ps giiito . : 
nervous, and we pulled away at the paddles with , 
renewed vigor and strength. Before we were scarcity,- 
conscious of it, we were close upon the bar^ ^nd began 1 
to be puzzled how we should get by or around it^ for it ,^ 
was longer than it appeared to be when first seeru 
Presently we discovered a narrow, shallow channel 
through it, and we were not long in getting our boat 
through. As we were going through, Mark gathered 
in a lot of rough, muddy-looking lumps, which I sup^ 
posed were boulders, and soon called for my old broken- 
backed knife, after which I saw him open one of the 
muddy chunks and eat something from it. Says I: 

'* Mark I you starving Yank 1 what in thunder are you 
at now.** ^ 

*' Taste this," says he, as he opened another muddy 
cnunk, and I lapped up from the dirty shell the sweetest 
oyster I had ever tasted 

« _ 


We were in the mrdst of a great oyster bed, the like 
of which I had never before seen. I had never, in 
fact, seen an oyster in the shell before. Marie gathered 
up as many as he could as the boat passed along, and 
when we reached the still water, we made quite a little 
feast on them as we paddled on. I think I never 
tasted anything so delicious. We were still very 
hungry, and the moist, rich, salty flavor of the oysters 
seemed to suit our weak, famished stomachs to a nicety. 
I But our little feast was soon cut diort by the certain 
discovery that the dead trees were nothing less thaii 
the masts of vessels. We could now plainly see the 
yards, cross-trees and great smoke-stacks. We dropped 
the oysters in the bottom of the boat, and, though quite 
exhausted, the sight of the vessels so renewed our 
strength that we made the little boat scad over tlie still 
water at a lively rate. Soon we could see the long, 
graceful streamers waving from the peaks of the masts, 
and the outline} of the dark, sombre-lookiag hulls of 
the ships. 

We were now nearing the ships very fast, and wwe 
a little anxious to see their colors, as we had become so 
suspicious of everybody and everything that we half 
feared running into the cintehes of our enemies. But 
we were not lo;5g in suapense, for suddenly a little 
breeze sprang up, and I shall never, no, never, forget 
my joy on seeing the old flag, the glorious old stars and 
stripes, as they unfolded to the ocean breeze and seemed 
to extend their beneficent protection over us, after 
nearly eight months of terrible bondage. We could see 
the field of blue, studded ^yith its golden stars, and 
the stripes of white and red ! Yes, it was our flag, old 


' .1 


EPhmhvs Urmm ! We threw down our paddles in the 
boat and stood up and yelled and screamed and cried 
like a couple of foolish boys lost in the woods. We 
could not restrain ourselves. Mark wanted to jump 
overboard and swim to the ships, although we were yet, 
perhaps, nearly a mile away — at least, too far to swim 
in his condition. After we recovered our senses a litdo^ 
we picked up the paddles and began rowing again, di» 
recting our course toward the largest vessel. 
I It seems now like a dream to me — ^that joyful diay— 
the most joyful, I was about to say, of ray life. I be- 
lieve there were three vessels in sight. In steOTitig for 
the largest one, although it was the most distant, we 
had to pass some distance in front of the bow6f a 
imaller ship or boat. We were now getting so close 
that we could plainly see the officers and men on the 
decks, in their neat, blue uniforms. We could see ihe 
port-holes in the sides of the ships, and the black nuz- 
zles of the cannon projecting out. This gave us much 
assurance, and we said to ourselves : 

^^ Gk)od bye, rebsl We are out of your dutches at 



1Satle# bjp fh$ C^Qpimander of the Blockading WMti-rrA Bnfl 
lllfQiaptlQn—'ExpIajiatioQ of Our ^ppearancQr-Quuiged Qe- 
]zu9^or of tiie Compiaxider — Our Cadaverous Coiiditip]^— > 
Qur Unbounded Joy — Rage of the Old Sea Veteran, Com- 
mander J. F. Crossman-T-A Band and Noble Man — The Sub- 
9tantial Welcome Given Us — We Start for Key West — 
PrfttQM? of the Terrible Past— Yellow Jack Catches lie— ^j 
West— The "Ponphs"— A Marked Contrast. 

E were rowing our insignificant-looking little Ijoi^t 
right a^lpng, just as though we intended to capture 
the biggest vessel in the fleet, when a gruflf voige 
fma the ship, whose bow we were passing, conuaanfi^d 
us to ^' Come to, there ! " At the sanie time we s^iW a 
grim-looking old sea-dog, in nice uniform, leanijig pygr 
the rail, motioning us in with his hand. We turned 
the bow of our little boat toward him, land, when w© 
came within better speaking distance, he interrogated 
us, in stentorian voice, about as follows : 

" Who in h — 1 are you, and what are you pa.ddling 
under oy guns in this manner for ! " 

We were half terrified by the old fellow's angry, 
stern nianner, and did not know but we had at last 
fallen into the hapds of a rebel cruiser under false col- 
ors. We did not know what to say to this unexpected, 
lipgry interrogation. We paddled on very slowly, 
|While the sailors and officers began to gather in little 



squads and look at us with mingled curiosity and meN 

Presently, the oflBcer hailed us again, with about the 
same questions. I now stood up in our boat, and 
answered, that we Were two men trying to get back to 
God's country, among friends. I was now quite uneasy 
and suspicious of the situation, and kept my eyes on 
the oflBcer, for I perceived he was the commander. I 
shall never forget his stem, but puzzled look, as we 
came up under the bow of his vessel. We had been so 
overjoyed and excited, that we had forgotten to pull 
the old moss, which covered our nakedness and pro^ 
tected us froim the sun, from our backs, and we must 
have looked like scare-crows or swan^dragons. I can- 
not speak so well of my own appearance then, but can 
see Mark Wood, just as he was on that joyful day, and 
a more comical, forlorn, starved-looking being cannot 
well be imagined. 

In our boat were a few cat-fish partly skiniied, some 
oysters in the shell, some ears of scorched com, a lot of 
moss and our old boots, for our feet were yet sore and 
we went bare-footed when in the boat. 

After scrutinizing us in silence for some little time 
[as we drifted up closer and closei^ he again demanded 
of us some account of our stran|;e conduct and appear- 
ance. I told him il^e were enlisted Federal soldiers, and 
belonged to the command of General O. M. Mitchell, 
in Tennessee, to which he growled something about oup, 
being a "d — d long ways from camp.'' I then explained 
to him briefly that we were fugitives, and the causes 
that led to it; that we were nearly famished with 
hunger^ and that after skulking through mountains and 


.■••■••■. • . • - ■ ■ '.■ \ '■ 

river by night, we had at last soaght proteotioii onder 
the old flag and the guns of his ship. 

I could see that his manner toward us had changed. 
He plainly saw the indications of our distress. He 
said he had heard of the raiding expedition we spoke 
of, and commanded us to row up to the ladder and 
come up the shi|)'s side. We did so, and Wood went 
up the steps first. The poor fellow's agitation and joy 
were so great, and he was so weak that he could 
scarcely raise his feet from istep to step on the ladder, 
Qr stairs. The commander seeing his wenk, faltering 
condition, leaned over the raH, as Wood oajne up, andf 
re(|ching put)^ took hold to assist him, and, a^ he did so^ 
the rotten bit of old moss, which covered Mark's shouV 
ders and back, all pulled off and exposed his emad* 
at^, bony skeleton, wjiich) in truth, was nothing but 
skin and bones. The well-fed, sleek-looking sailors seemed 
to look on in horror, but not more so than the gener> 
ous-hearted commander, who was moved almost to 
tears, as he was reaching over to help me as I came to 
the top of the step-ladder. They stared at us in gilent 
wonderment, while the sailors looked down into our 
little boat with comical curiosity. 

Ko pen can tell my feelings when I fully realized 
that 1 was under the dear old Hag and among friends, 
for such we found them. Mark was so overcome that 
he could scarcely speak, and so weak that he could 
hardly stand. It was with much effort that I was/ible 
to choke down my feelings, so that I could answer tho 
few questions asked me. Pretty so'-n the old com- 
manders anger got t..e better of liini, and ^e ravecl »nd 
swore as he pa jd up auH down, and stamped the deck 


until the air seemed fairiv blue Avitli brimstone. I 
think if he could have gotten hold of old Jefferson Davis, 
or some other first-class rebel, about that time, he would 
have hung him, and then tried him afterwards. 

The vessel we had boarded was the United States 
gun-boat Somerset, of the Gulf blockading squadron, 
and the officer in command, who had taken us up, was 
Lieutenant-Commander J. F. Grossman. Peace to his 
ashes. It was with unfeigned sortow that I learned, 
since I tegan writing these sketches, of his death, by 
accident, in the year 1872. A nobler, more kind- 
hearted and more S3'^mpathetic man for those in distress, 
never wore the United States uniform. He ordered us 
each a new suit of clothes, and gave orders to his cook 
to get dinner for us. He conducted us to the cabin, 
dirty and ra<.^ged as we were, and gave us each a few 
swallows of brandy, after which, he sent us aft with 
tlio sailors, to wash up, which we did Avith soap, the 
firs't time we had used the article since we had left our 
cou]'rados at Shelbyville, nearly eight months before. 
"We tlien rigged ourselves out in sailors clothes, after 
Avhich^^e were invited to the commanders cabin, where 
wo tv'^^olv dinner with liim. « ■ 

AV(' wore so hungr}'^ that we w^ere ashamed to even 
n:i'*m})t lo satisfy our appetites, although we were 
ir.?»'|{^ wf>l(?o]ne to everything he had. It seemed to me 
as though I could not get tilled up. The commandei: 
talicod fveely with us, and cordially invited us to stay 
•fi itb hr.ii nntil we vvere recruited up, but we told him. 
we would like to get back as soon as |X)ssiblej or to 
s ^mo part of the Federal lines where we could report, 
and, if possible, save our conoi^ades in the Atianta 


prison, if the poor fellows were not already executed. 
He told us he would be pleased to have us stay until 
we were' recruited from our starved condition, and that 
we would be made welcome on his vessel, but, that if 
we insisted on going right on he would signal a cruiser 
then lying not far away, to await further orders, which 
he did. This was the large looking vessel we had been 
steering for when hailed by Commander Grossman, and 
Avhich was just ready to set sail for Key West. 

After dinner, he interviewed us further, and again 
fell into a swearing frenzy. I thought he w^ the mad- 
dest, most furious swearer I had ever heard or seen. 
He wrote and forwarded dispatches to the Navy, and, 
I think, to the War Department, for my understanding 
of the case, at the time, was, and is still, that Secretary 
Stanton at once took the matter in hand, and notified 
the Confederate authorities at Eichmond, that any, 
further executions of the members of the Mitchell 
party would be met with prompt retaliation. My rea- 
son for thinking so will appear further on m my story. 
The commander also gave us letters to the command- 
ants at the naval station at Key West and other points 
in our route. He furnished us with everything he could 
think of to make us comfortable, even to a supply of 
tobacco, and with a hearty farewell hand-shake and 
wishes ^for better fortune in the future and a safe voy- 
age, the noble old man sent us off in a boat to the 
cruiser, on whose great dark hull was lettered her name, 
Stars cmd Stripes, We cast many a grateful look back 
at Commander Crossman, as he leaned over the rail 
looking after us, and to the last of my life shall I asso- 
ciate his name and that of his boat^ the Somerset^ with 


that eventful day of my existence, wlien Providence 
delivered me up from a miserable boiuhi^e, and almost 
a lingering death, into the hands of so kind and gener- 
ous a friend. 

Soon after we came on board the Stars and StripeSy 
she took up her anchor and was under way for Key 
West, and, soon after, \kq were out of sight of a land 
where so many sorrows came upon us, and for which 
we had but few pleasant memories. I crept upon the 
«ij)per deck, and for the first time in my life, gazed out 
upon the majestic ocean. I was almost dazed in grate- 
ful admiration at my changed condition and the sii'b- 
linie strange surroundings. Tears would cpmie unbid- 
den in my eyes, and it all seemed a dream. At times 
I would involuntarily start up, as if to flee from the 
sight of some one. It seemed like a beautiful df earn, 
too good to be true. Even while I was awake, I almost 
doubted the reality of ray situaition. \V hen I attempted 
to sleep I would be haunted with unpleasant visions of 
the terrible past. I could see Andrews, and hear his 
clanking chains. I could see our poor comrades who 
were executed, and the brutal ollicers and guards who 
dragged them away from us. My slumbers were 
haunted with visions of the old Atlanta jail, and the 
prison guards, and 1 could hear them shout, "llaltl 
haJtl" as plain as when I ran from them on the day 
of my escape, r nd sometimes in my sleeping efforts at 
running, I would wake to find myself in a lively siate 
of perspiration. This cental strain h^d been on me so 
long, and I was, physically, so redu^ed^ ^ijat I found it 
next to impossible to shake off the spell. My brain Wc i 
feverish, and as the strain began to relax, I began to 


feel drowsy, my appetite ceased, and before the third 
day of the voyage, my vitality, energy and strength 
seemed almost entirely gone. I felt the insidious but 
sure clutches of fever seizing upon me. My almost 
iron constitution had been overtaxed, and was gradually 
being overcome by disease, and on the fourth day, 
when we arrived at Key West, I knew or cared but 
little what became of me. 

The surgeons pronounced my ailment yellow fever. 
I was taken to a physician's house, where I did not 
want for care and medical attendance. The place was 
garrisoned by a New York regiment, the Sixty-Ninth, 
perhaps, the officers and men of which treated us with 
great kindness and consideration. 

After the fever had run its course and under the good 
treatment I was receiving, my condition improved very 
rapidly. As soon as the disease had entirely left me, 
my ravenous appetite began to return, and I hungered 
constantly, although my stomach was so weak that I 
dare eat only the least morsel at a time, and that of the 
very lightest kind of food. I did not know but I was 
to starve in the midst of friends and abundance. I 
attributed this weak, irritated condition of my stomach 
to the eating of raw, hard corn, although the doctor 
said it came about from a combinatioa of causes. 
During my sickness, Mark had prevailed itpon the com- 
mandant at Key West to urgently renew our request 
to the Secretary of War, at Washington, to take imme- 
diate steps to save the lives, if they yet lived, of those 
of our comrades who had not been so fortunate as to 
make their escape. 
As soon as I got strong enough, I spent spnajB tm^ 

?10 ^ lUBT mcsT. 

while we were waiting for a vessel to sail, m lookiirff 
about this wonderful sea-girt reef. Key West is 
ojie of the extreme westerly islands of the group 
Jj^nown as the Pine Islands. It is about sixty miles 
from the southern point of. Florida, and is less than one 
hundred miles from the coast of Cuba. The isfend is 
about five miles long, and, I judge, a couple of miles 
wide, and the land or sand and rocks do not appear to 
be more than ten feet above the ocean level. The rock 
is coral and the island-, so far as soil is concerned, pre- 
sents a miserable, poor, starved appearance. There js 
a little salt lake or pond of three or four hundred acres 
on the island, and a couple of light-bouses. Key West 
City — that is, the town of Key West, which takes its 
name from the island on which it is built — is a place, 
or was at the time of my visit, of two or three thousan^i 
inhabitants, the greater portion of whom are a mongrel 
set of human beings, from the Bahama islands, called 
"Conchs." They are not a desirable people to live 
among, according to my notions of society, although I 
would prefer them to Southern Confederacy rebels, two 
to one. These Conchs are a *hardy, dare-devil sort of 
people, who seem as much at home in the water as a 
muskrat or alligator. Their business in life is fishing 
and wrecking, and it was told me by white men, that 
these islanders can dive to the bottom of the ocean, if 
it is not over fifty feet deep. 

These Florida Key waters are very dangerous, and 
many an unfortunate vessel goes to the bottom or to 
pieces in this part of the Gulf every year, and tbeg^ 
people sometimes do both a profitable and humane bus- 
iness in saving the crews of vessels and thjB cargoes. 
The air her^, even in winbuv^ is aof t and balmy, and ia 


I . 

, said to be healthy, although it ,was too warm to suit 
me. The United States has a strongly fortified post, 
called Fort Taylor, on the island, which is so situated 
that it is capable of making a strong defense if assailed 
by ships of war. About sixty miles away, is another 
similar island, named Tortugas, where there is also a 
United States fort, and where a number of rebel pris- 
oners were serving out sentences of various crimes. 

These reefs and islands, and the ocean scenery and 
views, were all new and strange to me, and I was 
strongly impressed, not only with the wonders of 
Nature here, but the vastness of our country and its 
varied resources, products and climajbe. Here were a 
people who lived almost without need of clothing or 
houses, and on the products of the ocean, while I, who 
came from a part of the same great land and govern- 
ment, under the same flag, lived where warm clothes,! 
houses and much other care was necessary for personal 
comfort, and entirely from the products grown- from 
the earth, produced by a careful, assiduous round of 
labor from one season to another. Tet I would not 
swap an Ohio home, with its comfortable houses, orch- 
ards, gardens and privileges of schools, churches and 
society, with its regular habits and vital life and energy, 
for the luxurious, lazy, listless, useless lives, lived by 
people without necessities, without energy and without 
eflfort, in the tropical and semi-tropical climates, and 
especially with the wandering, vagabond Conchs. 
When a man can get a living with his fish-hook and line, 
and requires no greater shelter than a shade tree, and his 
greatest concern and comfort is his pipe and tobaccoi 
there is not much to be expected from hinu 



Port Roj^al— Doath of (Jeneral O. M. Mitchell— Memories of 
the Past — A Noble and Brave Commander — Characteristics 
of Successful Generalship — General Mitchell's Confidence in 
the Success of the Enterprise — Tribute Due to Our Beloved 
General — Steaming to New York with the Body of General 
Mitchell —Our Cordial Reception — Feted Everywhere — Arri- 
val at Washington — Caught without a Pass and Imprisoned 
— A Note to the President — Immediate Release — Introduced 
to President Lincoln — His Kind Reception — An Interesting 
Interview — The President's Promise. 

'HE regiment that was doing garrison duty on- 
the island received orders to go to Port KoyalJ 
while we were with them, and we took passage to 
that place on the same boat. On our arrival we learned 
a piece of news that caused us much sorrow. Only a 
short time before, our old division commander, General 
Ormsby M. Mitchell, had breathed his last in that 
place, \yhere he had been placed in command but ;; 
little while before the yellow fever seized upon him 
and carried him off. 

What a privilege it would have been to us to have 
reached the place and seen him before his death. I 
recall his almost prophetic w^ords on that memortvble 
evening, far away in Tennessee, as beneath the canopy 
of a little clump of trees, we silently gathered aoout 
him to hear his last instructions to us, and at the coa« 




GEN. 0. M. MTTCnELL. 213 

elusion of wiv'ch he shook hands with each man and 
said, as the tears seemed to start from Lis eyes, "Boys, 
I fear I s! li never see vou a^fain." Nor did he ever 
see or ^ little band again, and I believe he died 

in tl it that our lives had all been sacrificed. 

And 1. ..d die, so believing, it was a cause of pain 
and sorrow to him, for his was a noble, humane and 
sensitive nature, a soul of honor — too merciful to wield 
the bloodv sword of a Marlborouo^h or Blucher in war's 
carnage, and too honorable to sacrifice the humblest 
private m his army, to gratify ambition, or to exalt his 
own fame. Instead of being a military genius — an 
instrument of destruction and murder, as the profession 
of ,anns lioaplies thkt a leader should be — Gheneral 
Mitchell, in my opinion, was tiie reverse. He sought 
to accomplish great results, great ends by far-reaching 
calculations of strategy ,^ by means that would, if possi*; 
ble, avoid the i^anguinary clasl;i. of arms^ and the death* 
struggle oOj the battle-field 

The organ of destructiveness must be large in the sue* 
cessful soldier, and the general who lacks it, lacks one 
of the first qualifications in his profession. War is but 
the measurement of the power of brute force and strat- 
egy between two contending nations or armies, and the 
priwer of one or the other must be broken before there 
is a permanent and satisfactory peace. So the general 
who can inflict the greatest slaughter and destruction 
on his adversary in the shortest time is greatest in hia 
profession — ^greatest in the art of peace, and, for ought 
I knoTr> the greatest humanitarian, although I am 
aware my last assertion is open to enligl^toued cpntro* 

214: Mitchell's militiky QUALincjiTioNS. 

k : C ....'' . .' '. ■ \'. .. ".. '1 

Measured by this rule, General Mitchell would not 
have taken rank among the most successful command- 
ers, although he possessed many military qualifications 
in an eminent degree. Although he was a West Point 
graduate, in the same class with Lee and Joe Johnston, 
and knew the theory of war, yet it was a profession dis- 
tasteful to him, and he had sought the more congenial 
field of letters and science, in which he distinguished 
himself. He was, at the time of his eiilistmeut, a pro- 
fessor of mathematics, .philosophy and astronomy in a 
Cincinnati college. 

Had this unfortunate expedition, which he organized, 
been a success — and how narrowly it came to being a 
success the reader is already aware -— General Mitchell 
would have been at once pronounced one of the best 
military strategists of the war, and his name and fame 
would have stood pre-eminent canong military command- 
ers. Even as it was, the rebels feared him, fc^, as they 
often said, there was- never any. telling what devilment 
"old star-gazing Mitchell " was up to. For the energy and 
enterprise he displayed in this independent command 
of a division, in wMch he accomplished large, though 
temporary, results, President Lincoln made him a 
Major General. He was a good judge of men ; he was 
prompt and decisive, and foresaw events, almost with 
the power of intuition, and the details of his plans were 
made out almost with mathematical precision, and in 
this last was he very liable to be often at fault. Mili«> 
tary operations must always be adjusted, or adjust them- 
selves, to circumstances, weather^ roads, and the move- 
ments of the enemy included. 

(stoneral iMitcbell had s^ much confidence in the suo 


cess of our expcJition, as a geiiQral coma have. lie 
was even enthusiastic, because he had planned it all 
out with all the careful details that he would in fore- 
telling the cominfj of a comet or an eclipse, and yet 
something told him — forewarned him — that there was 
miscalculation somewhere — that we were doomed 
men — that he should never see us again, and, in the 
honesty of his nature, he told us so. He had implicit 
confidence in Andrews — in his fidelity, courage and 
sagacity. As showing General Mitchell's anxiety for 
the success of the expedition and the importance ho 
attached to it, he promised Andrews fifty thousand dol- 
lars reward if he succeeded,^ although of this we knew 
nothing at the time, and Andrews would have received 
the money, for General Mitqhell would never have made 
such a promise without assurance from some higher au- 
thority, probably the Secretary of War, or the Chief 
Agent of the Secret Service fund. The General believed 
that we would capture the train at Big Shanty as much 
as he believed in his existence, and he cautioned 
Andrews to avoid bloodshed if possible — not to kill 
the engineer and fireman if their lives could be spared. 
He, on. his part, was prompt and on time in his advance 
movement on the railroad near Iluntsville, but ];ie had 
miscarried in one of the plainest and simplest matters — 
namely, giving sufficient time for our journey to Mari- 
etta, or rather, to Chattanooga. The heavy rains 
which suddenly came and the swollen rivers had not 
been included in his careful plan. It was a slight but 
fatal miscalculation. i 

I have been led into the$e comments, j^qr which I ask 
the reader's pardon, iu order to place more fully before 




i -■" - 

all the exact relation which General MitcV 3II bore to 
this expedition. I have heard him condemned for per- 
mitting it, and have heard him charged with reckless- 
ness and selfish ambition for distinction, but I believe 
the reader, after having all the facts placed before him, 
will agree with me in my estimate of his honorable 
character. So far as my criticism of his soldierly gen- 
ius goes, it is only my opinion — the humble opinion of 
a private soldier — and if I have erred in judgment, 
there are plenty of abler cotenjporary soldier pens to 
correct me. I have felt this much due to the patriotic, 
loyal man who gave existence to the Ill-fated adven- 
ture, in the carrying out of Which I and My o6iiii^^des 
suffered so much. Peace to his noble spirit. 

We found good quarters at Port Royal ^^lid 'W^re 
royally treated by the ekstei^n soldters Wh<^ v^il'e-^ta- 
tibned there, and who'nliderstbod siind hsid tbfe ci^ri^eni- 
ences for making ihimselves aboiit as oonafbrtabte as 
soldiers could well be. We soon got a chance to ship 
by small steamer to Hilton Head, twelve miles away, 
and soon after shipped thence to New York, on a large 
transport steamer, The Star of the South^ which' was in 
Government employ. On board was also the coflfin 
containing the last remains of General Mitchell, which 
was being sent to his friends in Ohio. We had a pleas- 
ant voyage to New York, but did not stay long in the 
great, busy metropolis. Commander Grossman, and in 
fact, the officers at all the statibns, had advised us to 
go Immediately to Washington, and personally see the 
Secretary of War, and lay all the facts we \vere in pos- 
session of before him. So we secured transportations, 
at military headquarters in New York, to Washington* 


"We were detained in Baltimore, as we went through, 
until the Commissary General could find time to fix up 
our papers. The people were so hospitable, and 
officers, soldiers and everybody else treated us 
so well, that we remained for a couple of days. The 
newspaper men got hold of us, and soon it was 
noised everywhere that two of Mitchell's spies and 
bridge-burners had arrived direct from the heart 
of old Jeff's dominions, and Mark and I used 
to read the startling headlines with many a broad,' 
good laugh to ourselves. We had free tickets to the 
theatres, museums and other public places, free rides 
and free lunches, and we began to wonder if we were 
not " bigger men than old Grant," or some other general. 

But we had a great anxiety to get back to the regi- 
ment and learn how the fortuned of war had been with 
our old comrades and if any of the poor fellows who 
had broke jail with us had ever reached " God's coun- 
try." All these things were a sealed book to us. We 
knew that battles had been fought,, and that many a 
comrade had fallen. Any soldier, who has ever been a 
prisoner, will remember what an anxiety there is after 
months of absence, to learn the fate cf those ill the 
regiment at the front. It was so \^ith us, and from the 
hour we came out within railroad communication of the 
army, I was restless and wanted to get back, and each 
day my anxiety increased. 

When we airived in Washington, Mark went to the 
SolJiers' Ho^ae to take up temporary quarters, and I 
started out to find the Commissary-General's oSice, to 
get transportation for us to our regiment, after which 
we pro^^ calling at the War Departmwt. I thought 


218 ^Emsm the babs AaAnr. 

. lessly started out without a pass, not having fceen used 
to the strict patrol regulations in force in Washington 
at that time, and, as a natural consequence, had not gone 
far before I was confronted by a squad of nicely-dressed 
Provost guards, with bright new muskets, who "took 
me in," and not long after I had the mortification to 
see a prison door again closed on ray liberty. 

I did some audible soliloquizing after I was looked 
up, and it was not complimentary to Provost guards in 
general, nor to Washington in particular. What a 
reception, thought I, right here in the capital city of 
" God's country !" I almost wished I had remained at 
Baltimore. Tlie most perplexing part of my dilemma 
was, that I did not know who to apply to, to get 
released. There was so much red tape about Washing- 
ton military affairs, that I knew I was liable to spend 
several days and nights in the prison, if I went through 
the regulation course. It made me fairly boil over with 

But a happy thought struck me. I had beard that 
President Lincoln was a very - patient, kind man, and 
would give a hearing to a private soldier almost as read- 
ily as to an oflBicer. I called for the officer in charge of 
the prison, who came. in. Me was a starchy, important 
kind of a man, who had, judging from appearances, 
never smelt rebel powder, unless it might, perhaps, have 
been on a woman's face, and was disposed to treat me 
as such officials were too much in the habit of treating 
private soldiers. lie impatiently demanded to know 
<* what I wanted." 

I said, "Will you oblige me by sending me pen, ink 
and paper i '' 


" What do you want with paper ? " said he. 

" To write to the President," said I. 

" And what in h — 1 have you to do with the Presi- 
dent," said he. 

I said, "It is no part of your duty or business to 
inquire into the matter.'' 

He looked at me for a moment, and then condescend- 
ingly said, "Air right, I will see that. your wishes are 
complied with." 

I hastily wrote a note, about as follows : 

Mr. JfVe«idew*:— I have just arrived in the city, fresh from a 
long imprisonment in Atlanta, Georgia, from which place of con- 
finement I took * * French leave." The Provost guai'ds have impris- 
oned me here, because I was found without a pass, in which, I 
suppose, they did but their duty. I know of no officer or friend 
in the city to whom I can apply for help. Can you do anything 
for me? If you can, you wiU greatly oblige, your friend. 

Cf the Twenty-First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 

The messenger who took the note, which was 
addressed on the envelope, "A. Lincoln, President,'' 
had not been gone more than half an hour, until the 
prison-door opened, and the starchy oificer called my 
name. I came forward, and a pleasant, gentlemanly 
man, dressed in the clothes of a civilian, asked me if my 
name was Wilson. When I said it was, he took me by 
the hand and bid me walk out, at the same time hand- 
ing the officer a written order for my release. The 
gentleman, who, probably, was the President's private 
secretary, told me that Mr. Lincoln requested that I 
should come and see him, and, that if I would accom- 
pany him, he would show me the way, and see that the 




Provost guards did not molest me. When we arrived 
at the White House, my escort said, addressing Mr. 
Lincoln, "Mr. President, this is Mr. Wilson, one of the 
Mitchell railroad-raiders, who has just escaped from 
prison." The President came forward and took me by 
the hand, much in the manner a father would on receiv- 
ing a long lost son. He said : 

" Mr. Wilson, it affords me great pleasure to take you 
by the hand, and I thank God that your life has been 

He then conducted me forward to a table, where 
several gentlemen sat, to whom he introduced me, after 
which he showed me a seat. I was somewhat embar- 
rassed, but I remember that Secretaries Seward and 
Chase were of the number. Mr. Seward, I recollect, 
seemed to be a serious, thoughtful looking old man, 
who said but very little, but listened attentively to- 
the others. Mr. Lincoln sat down near me and mani- 
fested as much interest in me as if I had been an old 
and valued acquaintance. He congratulated me and my 
comrades for the spirit, determination and devotion we 
had shown, and the good luck which enabled us to 
escape. He seemed perfectly familiar with all the de- 
tails of our expedition — the cause of its failure, and 
the good results that would have arisen from its success. 
" What a pity," continued the President, " that General 
Mitchell did not give you boys one m^ore day to make 
your journey in. Had he done so, I have no doubt you 
would have succeeded. You all did your duty bravely 
and nobly and have suffered bitterly for it. The coun- 
try owes each survivor a debt of gratitude, for which 
he should be suitably rewarded." 

TOE president's PROMTSa 221 


1 told the President that ray business in coming to 
"VN' th4h I ngtDtt was to see"" Bim ' of 'the ~ Secretary of War, ' 
and ask them to intercede for those of the expeditibn 
who were yet in captivity. lie told me that Com- 
mander Grossman's dispatches had arrived at the War 
Department, and that steps had already been taken in ' 
behalf of the captives, by Secretary Stanton. He said 
that not ant^Lher man of them should be harmed if the 
power of the Government could prevent it. " When 
you go back to your reoiment," said the President^ 
" tell your comrades, and tell them to send word to the 
friends of those men of the expediticm now imprisoned, 
that Secretary Stanton, and through him the Govern- 
ment, has done, and is doing and will continue to do, 
all that can be done to have, them treated as regular 
prisoners of war, even if measures of retaliation are 

In this declaration, as in all things he said and did, 
I believe the noble President was sincere, and I have 
no doubt, thought as sacredly of his word to me, an 
obscure private soldier, as he would if given to any 
influential general, or civil official. Of one thing I am 
certain. The men were never executed, but were treated 
like other prisoners, so far as I could learn. As he shook 
hands with me, when I took my leave, Mr. Lincoln said, 
" Each member of your expedition shall have a commis- 
sion, and if the Governor of Ohio does not give you a 
commission, Mr, Wilson, I will give you a lieutenant^s 
commission in the regular army." 

A man was sent with me to the Commissaiy-Gen- 
eral's office, where I secured passes and transpoi*tatioii 
for Mark and myself to go to our regimeht, or to 6top 

w .■>.■ 



in Ohio until we received orders from the regiment, as 
we saw proper. We decided to go right through to 
the army of the Cumberland, as fast as we could, stop- 
ping only in Ohio long enough to shake ha.nds with our 
friends and let theni know that we were yet in the land 
of the living, and also to get a little money to^ bear our 
incidental expenses on our journey southward. 



■^C ^; 




Returning to the Regiment — Back to the Array of the Cum- 
berland — The Greeting of Old Comrades — Meeting with 
Captain Fry — History of Different Members of Our Party — 
Interesting Account from Wm. J. Knight — J. R. Porter's 
Account— Whereabouts of other Comrades of the Expedition 
— ^A Few Words Personal — MedaJ and Extm Pay — Concluding 
Words — A Hope that the Spirit of Rebellion is at an End. 

E reached our regiment a few days after the battle 
of Stone Eiver. The men were camped near 
Murfreesboro, and only about twenty miles from 
Shelby ville, where we had left them nine months before. 
Our old comrades received us almost as two who had 
come to them from the dead. 

They were not more rejoiced than we were, for after 
so long an absence and the many ups and downs and 
rough experiences we had met in the Confederacy, we 
felt, indeed, about as much joy and gratitude as two 
fellows could well live through in one day. Many 
beloved comrades, whose voices and faoes were once 
familiar about the camp-fire and mess, were absent to 
come back no more. They slept their last long sleep, 
among the new-made graves, over in the cedars yonder. 
Their lives went out amid the din of battle, on the 
bloody field of Stone Eiver. The remembrance of 
those absent ones, never to come again to roll-call with 
US; made me feel sad, but there is almost always somo 

224;- OAF ^ j8^vs)-PEy, AOAEj; 

silyer ItoiTjg totjpk^da'rkclpuds in a soldier's Ufe^ uaid 0<^ f 
it was with us. 

One of the pleasantest surprises in store for me, was 
nothing less than the meeting with Captain Fry, " Tlje 
noblest Roman of them all," whom I supposed was cer- 
tainly dead. What a change had come over him since, 
bareheaded, starved, ragged and bony, I saw him seize 
Turner, the jailer, at the prison-door, on that never-to- 
be-forgotten night, and hold him with the firm grip of 
a giant. Then, afterwards, as I ran for my life, away 
out, nearly a half mile from the prison, I caught a 
glimpse of Captain Fry, staggering '\nd stumbling, as 
if about to fall, as I supposed, from the effects of a • 
bullet- wound. Now, as I saw him, he was a robust^ 
well-fed, soldierly, noble-looking man, but in h^aort, coup- . 
age, manliness and nobility of character, the same xxueliX' _ 
who had been our faithful comrade in prison. As a soldier, 
possessing great rugged qualities of mind and ^eart, he 
would have been a fit associate for Frederick the Great. 
He was with his regiment, the Third Tennessee, when 
1 last saw him, and I know of few men living to-clay* 
(if he is living), for whom I entertain greater respecfc 
than Captain David Fry. 

As the reader, who has followed pay story thus far, will 
have an interest in knowing the fate of all our party of 
raiders who broke jail, I will as briefly and as correctly 
as possible, speak of each. Of our party of twenty- 
two, who had landed at Marietta, eight, as will be 
remembered, had been hung, leaving fourteen, who 
were in the Atlanta prison at the time of the break. 
Of these, eight made good tHeir escape, and, after untold ^ 
hardships and suffering, reached the Federal lines* 


Tfi^ir names and present places of residence as far as I 
know, are as follows : 

M, J. Hawkins, residence unknown. 

D. A. Dorsey, Nebraska. 

W. W. Brown, Wood County, Ohio. 

William J. Knight, Nortli Pacific Junction, Minnesota. 

John Wollam, residence unknown. 

John R. Porter, Carlisle, Arkansas. 

Mark Wood, deceased. 

These, with myself, include all who made good their 
escape. Brown, Knight and Mason kept together at 
the time of their flight from the prison, and from a very 
interesting account of his escape, sont me by Mr. Knight 
since I began the publication of these sketches, and who 
will be remembered as one of our engineers, I , make an 
extract as follows: 


"We broke jail October 16, 1862, and scattered and 
scampered for the woods. W. W. Brown, E. H. Mason 
and myself, all of the Twenty -First Ohio Infantry, were 
together. The first nip^ht out. Mason took sick, and we 
did not get far, but kept well hidden. We were three 
days withiij. nine miles of Atlanta. On the third night. 
Mason was so bad that we were compelled to go to a 
house with him, and began to despair of making good 
our escape ; but he told us to leave him and save our- 
selves. Just as we had finished a hasty raeal in the 
kitchen, three men came in at the front door to arrest 
US- They asked us if we were not some of the pris- 



oners who broke jail in Atlanta. We told them we 
were. They said they had come to take us back, and 
that there was no use trying to escape, as all the roads 
and bridges were guarded. 

"Brown was mad in an instant, and ripped out a 
very blunt reply. He said, ' Pll be d — d if you take 
us back, now see if you do ! ' At this Brown and I 
sprang out of the back door and ran round the end of 
the house and down a fence in the direction of some 
woods. They ran out of the front door with their shot- 
guns and bawled out, ^ Halt ! halt ! ' as we were leaving 
them on a 2:40 run. They straddled their horses and 
galloped out on a by-road from the house to the main 
road, while the man where we had stayed, unloosed his 
hounds, and they were soon on our trail in full cry. 
"We had changed our course to baflle the horsemen, for 
there was a hill to go down and another to ascend 
before we got across the plantation and to the woods 
beyond. The men could not see us, but the cry of the 
dogs told our course, and before we had reached the 
woods the whole pack were closing on us. The field 
was full of loose stones, and we hastily chose the best' 
place we could, and engaged in a savage combat with 
the dogs, in which we were victorious, crippling and 
driving away the whole pack in short order, after which 
we started again on full run. 

" We could, by this time, see the horsemen coming 
round to head us off. We changed our course and 
threw them off again. The hounds followed at a long 
distance, and, by their howling, indicated our course, 
but did not oome near enough to molest us. We kept 


see-saAving and tacking to avoid the horsemen, who 
were doing their best to head us off, until, at last, we 
came to a little creek, in which we waded a couple of 
hours, and in this way caused the dogs to lose us. That 
day we reached Stone Mountain, eighteen miles east of 
Atlanta. After that we traveled nights, going due 
northward, with the north star for our guide. From 
our hiding places in the daytime we frequently saw 
scouting parties patroling the country, no doubt for 
the jail fugitives. 

*' We crossed the Chattahooche, October twenty-sixth, 
on rails tied together with bark. From the house 
where we left Mason, and ate breakfast in the kitchen, 
we Avere six days without food, except nuts and brush. 
On the seventh day we caught a goose and ate it raw, 
and on the same day found a few ears of corn left in 
the field by the buskers. This lasted until a day or 
so after, when we found a tree of apples which had not 
been gathered, probably because of their worthlessness. 
But they tasted good to us, and we filled up on then' 
and carried away all we could. 

" Fortunately for us, the same day we discovered a 
drove of young hogs in the woods, f hid behind a tree 
with a club, and Brown tolled a confiding pig up near 
me, by biting off bits of apple and tossing them to it, 
lacking up, meantime, iintil the young porker came with- 
in reach of my stick, when I murdered it. We split it 
up with a knife we had made from a piece of thin iron 
from a shovel handle, which iron we had sharpened by 
rubbing it on a stone. That night we found where 
«ome men bad been clearing and burning, and we had 


a feast of cooked pork, without seasoning, but we en- 
joyed it without complaint, for, except the goose and 
corn, we had eaten only five meals in twenty-one days. 
The pig lasted us until we reached the Hiawasse River, 
near the corner of North Carolina. 

"This was an intolerably rough country, and we 
traveled hard for four days, [and only gained eight 
miles, during which time we saw no one, either to mo- 
lest us or let us alone, and we were tramping along 
pretty bravely. We were crossing a little old clearing, 
which had a deserted appearance, when we came unex- 
pectedly and suddenly out in front of a log house, 
where two men stood on the porch. They saw us and 
it was too late for us to dodge, so we tried to appear 
indifferent, and went up and asked if we could get din- 
ner. We told them we were rebel soldiers, who had 
been on the sick list, and were trying to get back to 
our regiment. They said we could have dinner, and as 
we sat down to eat, the woman of the house, who 
seemed to be the mother of the two men, eyed us pretty- 
closely. She was very talkative, and it was not long 
bof ore she aceused us of being Yanks. To make quite 
a long story short, we soon found each other out. They 
were loyal, true people, who fed and secreted us and 
sent us on to other friends, who in turn helped us to 
others, and so on, until we arrived at Somerset, Ken- 
tucky, about November twenty-fifth, from which place 
we reached Louisville, and from there by railroad to 
Nashville, near which place our old comrades and regi- 
ment Vfey, and where- the boys received us with three 
times three and a tiger. Thus ended our adventures.'^ 

V ■'■. ^ ■->->*- ^ ~r T.' ' I' - * • - ■ ' T J, ■ • • • 


Mr. John R. Porter, formerly of Wood County, but 
now residing in Prairie County, Arkansas, publishes 
the following account of his adventures from the time 
the train left Marietta until he was imprisoned in 
Chattanooga : 


" Through some mistake or negligence of the hotel 
porter we were not called in time for the train, as it 
left quite early, although we arrived at the depot in 
time to ^ the train before it was out of sight. We 
gazed intently until the smoke of the iron-hoi^e dis- 
appeared in the morning twilight. 1 cannot describe 
toy feelings at that moment. I glanced at Hawkins, 
who appeared to be as much bewildered as myself. 
There We were in the heart of the Confederacy, know- 
ing that if we were suspected of anything wrong 
death would be our portion. We could hardly make 
up our minds how to meet the emergency as we had to 
be very careful not to make any move that would 
oreate suspicion. 

"Then we leisurely strolled about the town expect- 
ing every moment^to hear of the capture of the train. 
Nor did we have to wait long, for the news soon 
reached the town that a train had been captured at Big 
Shanty, while the passengers arid crew were at break- 
fast, and it was done so quickly arid easily that they 
could not imagine who did the deed, or what it meant 
Soon everything was wild vrith^icitemerit, and- -the 
town was thronged with excited rebels, waiting to hear 
farther developments regarding the wild train, as it 


'. '• •' ■ '• • . .'/.." 

".. : - 'T .:^'- 


was tdrmed. Hawkins and I concluded to skip, out, 
one at a time, though keeping sight of each other, and 
make our way to the country unmolested, if possible. 
In this we succeeded, and after reaching a piece of 
woods we came together, congratulated ourselves upon 
our success thus far, but what to do next we hardlv 
knew. We felt certain that the chances for our getting 
away in the present state of excitement, were not the 
best, and after much hesitation and doubt we deter- 
mined to go to Big Shanty or Camp McDonald,, as it 
was a rebel camp of instruction, and join the reb^ 
army, and thus be enabled to make our escape, when; 
sent to the front, by deserting a picket^post or taking 
the first opportunity that might off or. for escape in any: 
way. We proceeded on our way, intending to ; reach 
Gamp McDonald about suhdown, thinking perhaps that 
by this time the excitemi^t would be somewhat sab^ 

sided. ••"-■ v':..:::^- :.■■ ^ •,. ;;„ ; 

*' We came in sight of the town late in the day and 
marched into camp and reported at headquarters. Here 
we found several rebel officers, one of whom, who bore 
the marks of a Colonel, turned his attention to us.^ 
After a short interview, which seemed plausible to him,: 
he ordered us to report to the commanding officer of 
the Ninth Georgia Battalion for enlistment. One ofv 
the companies, not being full, was called into line and 
took a vote whether or not we should be received into 
the bompany. The vote was unanimous in our favor, 
and we, after giving fictitious names, were assigned to 
a certaiil mess fo)* our suppers. After supper we made 
the acquaintance of sotne of our new me$s-mabB6| 
relating dismal stories qi our treatment by the ^ Yankee '. 



liirelings in Kentucky, which made a good impression 
on. our eomrades as to our loyalty to the Coaf ederaoy. 

"Everything went all right with us until in some 
manner it leaked out among the rebels that the Yankee 
raiderSj hy mistake or accident, had left two of their 
party at M&rietta. How this information got out I 
never learned, bnt it could not be otherwise than that 
aoTM one of our jparty had indiscreetly told more than 
heoughi to when captured ; who the man was we never 
learned. The excitement ran very high, and we dis- 
covered, when it was too late, that we had run into the 
very jaws of danger, for immediately we fell under 
8uspicion,..and were sent to beadquiirters a^id there 
ordered to give artruthful account of ourselves, under 
thepfib^ty oi deatb'if we lied. We were taken into 
a room, one at a time, and interviewed by a number of 
rebd-offit^ts^-^Hawkinsfirst and myself aft^wards. 
When Hawkins eame out I saw al> a. glance that some- 
thing was wrong ; but my turn had come and I took 
my seat in the room, confronted by six Confederata 
officers, when I put on the boldest front I could. 

« One of the officers, a Colonel, took me in hand and 
began by first inquiring my name, which I did not give 
in fall, as I had given my name John Keed when I 
enlisted. He proceeded in his order of examination as 
best suited him, and I answered as best suited myself, 
just the reverse of what they desired, Finally, others 
of the party commenced asking questions and I found 
that I was in a pretty .tight place. On various, pc^^. 
sions daring nearly four years <A afcmy life I experi- 
enced 'some pretty close oalls, and run tbe gaantlet 
,£i«qaeutlf, bat this itob a Hiitie tbe.ol<i«^fi9^9r I ev» 


-. » J. 

got into. They were very menacing and abusive^ 
expcictiJig, I siippol&e; to scare me into a eonfessiion. ^^ : 

"The Colonel finally said, ^Mr. Reed, you stand 
there thrice damned. Ton may make your peace with 
your God, but you never can with Jeff. Davis, and w© 
ought to hswig you without any further ceremony.' 

" I was permitted to return to the room with 
Hawkins, where we were closely guarded, and were 
not allowed to converse with each other. Th« word 
soon spread through the camp that we were ^ Yankees,' 
and belonged to the railroad party. In a short time 
the building was surrounded with an excited mob that 
demanded our immediate execution — some threatemng 
to shoot us and some to hang us before we should leave- 
there. As they still gathered around, the excitment 
increased, until they placed a heavy guard around the 
building, and the crowd soon began to disperse, intent 
upon a fresh attack at night. 

"As soon as the first train came along goiiig^Sottth^ 
we were put aboard under guard and sent to Marietta^ 
where we were hand-cuffed and chained together by 
the end of a trace-chain being placed around the neck 
of each and locked with padlocks. Then, to make 
assurance doubly sure, we were placed in an inner cell 
of the jail for safe keeping during the night. The 
news soon spread through the town of our arrival, and, 
in a short time an infuriated mob gathered around the 
jail and demanded our release, that they might wreak 
out their vengeance upon us, otherwise they would burn 
the jail. As the night wore on the crowd increased 
until th6y finally placed another heavy guard aroond 
f he jail; that somewhat allayed our feais for the 


remainder of the night. That night, with its black- 
ness and darkness, will long be remembered by me as I 
hardly closed my eyes during the night, and it seemed 
as though morning never would come. When it did 
come, however, the jail was again surrounded by 
curiosity seekers and a mob-spirited crowd, to see the 
wild ' Yankees,' as they called us. 

" During the morning we were hurried to the depot 
under a strong guard to protect us from the mob, and 
were put aboard for Chattanooga, where we were 
put into * old Swim's hotel,' or more properly ^ the hole,' 
where we found eight of our old comrades who had 
preceded us into this horrible den,'V 

John E. Porter,' also of the Twenty-First Eegiment, 
and John WoUam, of the Thirty-Third, who passed so 
near to where Wood and I lay under the bushes on the 
night of the escape, struck westward, and after one 
month and two days of almost incredible hardship, 
reached the Federal lines at Corinth, Mississippi. 

Hawkins and Dorsey, of the Thirty-Third Regiment, 
after a very similar experience of hunger and privation, 
reached some Union friends in the Cumberland moim- 
tains, who aided them to reach the Fedeiral forces in 

Mason, of the Twenty-First, now a resident of this 
State, who escaped with Brown and Knight, and was 
taken sick, was recaptured, as also was William Ben- 
singer, of the same regiment, and who is also a resident 
of Ohio. 


Of the other foiir of the six who did not sticceed in 
making good their escape, I have but little present 
information. Eobert Buflfum, poor fellow, once an 
enthusiastic anti-slavery soldier and compatriot with 
old John Brown, in Kansas, died, I regret to learn, by 
his own hand, some three years since. 

Jacob Parrott, the heroic young soldier who was so 
brutally whipped, is a resident of Kenton, Ohio, and is 
physically, like most of the others of the party, a mere 
wreck, with broken health. 

I have no tidings of William Reddick, of the Thirty- 
Third Regiment. 

William Pittenger, of the Second Ohio Regiment, I 
learn, is leading a useful life in the ministry at Vine- 
land, New Jersey. These six prisoners were changed 
to a safer prison, and through the efforts, no doubt, of 
the War Department and Secretary Stanton, were 
afterwards sent to Richmond, from which latter place 
they were sent out to Fortress Monroe, in the latter 
part of March, 1863, almost a year from the time they 
were captured, when they were regularly exchanged 
with other prisoners. 

Several prisoners from East Tennessee made their 
escape at the same time, whom I have never heard of 
since. One poor fellow, named Barlow, was shot 
through the knee in the fight with the guards at the 
jail, or had his leg broken in some manner. The rebel 
guards bayoneted him back into prison, and let him die 
by inches, refusing him any medical attendance. His 
sufferings must have been terrible. Mr. Pittenger, in 
]iis published account, s&ys that the commandant^ 
Colonel Lee, in giving orders to those tiQops whom he 

sent IB pursuit of the escaped prisoners, m^ to them^ 
^^ Don't take one of the yUIaumI alive I 8hoot th^m 
down, and let them lie in the w*>c3« lor the hogs to 
eat !" Mr. Pittenger was ^id shortly after, that sev- 
»al of the escaped men had been shot and left in t^ie 
woods. But, fortunately, this was not true. Yet it 
seems almost marvelous that some were not killed out- 
right at the jail, and that more than half of our number 
escaped, when the flistance to the Federal lines is con- 

Now a few words personal, for which I beg the 
readers pardon, and I am. done. After joining my 
regiment I was detailed for detached duty, and 
remained at Fort Kosecrans, Murfreesboro, (Juring the 
remainder of my term of enlistment, at the expiration 
of which I was discharged, at Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864. 
Each member of our party, by act of Congress, received 
a medal. We also were given $100 extra pay, which was 
presented by General Rosecrans, at his headquarters, 
in Murf reesboro. I do not know whether the uipney 
was sent us by act of Congress, or was a private donar 
tion from Secretaries Chase and' Stanton. I have heard 
the matter stated both ways. 

I have been asked, since I began publishing this 
$tory, if I ever received a commission or a pension. I 
have never received either. I suppose there is a com- 
mission, of old date, for me in the Adjutant General's 
office of Ohio. I have never called for it. When I 
came out of the army, I was unfit for service, and did 
not consider myself fit for a soldier, either as offlper 
or private. Sonae of our ppirty received their qpinmis- 
sions/and others nevor had £|. chanpe to apply for th^ 


or, if they did, never cared enough about them to reap 
the benefit. 

Before concluding this final chapter, I wish to avail 
myself of the opportunity to thank the editor and 
employees of the Wood County Sentinel for their 
patience, kindness and forbearance in the publication of 
my sketches, and to the correspondents and many 
readers of the Sentinel for their appreciative, indulgent, 
kind, encouraging notices and words. 

My story has been rather a long one — longer than I 
intended. It has been mostly a story of sorrow and 
suffering — "a cloud without a silver lining," but t 
could not tell it truthfully and have it otherwise ; gladly 
would I have had it different. This story of hardship 
tells but a millionth part of what the war cost this 
people, and were I to be summoned to my last earthly 
account to-day, it would be a soothing consciousness to 
know — to feel, that the deadly strife which ceased at 
Appomattox Court House will never appear anew, 
under any other form, backed and sustained by the 
same rankling, anti-loyal spirit, whose hatred knew no 
limits in brutal deeds of blood, less than a score of years 
ago. I fear that the same blood-thirsty passion still 
slumbers. The bitterness and anguish of defeat and 
disappointment still rankle and bum in Ambition's 
blighting, destroying crucible. Give these men the 
power, and the most sanguine friends of an undivided 
government will have cause to tremble. 

I am not unforgiving ; I am not revengeful. 1 was so 
once, and I have sought those who wronged me, and 
murdered my comrades in cold blood, with violent 
intent I felt that they ought to be punisk^ I am